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New Covid-19 measures in force

Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 2:56pm

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet again today, Thursday, to review Ireland’s ongoing preparedness and response to Covid-19.

It comes as the government announced additional measures, recommended by the team, to slow the spread of the virus in Ireland. Financial support to workers and companies affected by the crisis were also announced.

In confirming the new measures on Tuesday from Government buildings, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described them as “unprecedented actions” for an “unprecedented emergency”.

He has asked all theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets to close.

All hotels are limited to non-social and non-tourist occupancy while all sporting events are cancelled, including those behind closed doors.

Playgrounds and holiday or caravan parks are closed and all organised social indoor or outdoor events of any size are not to take place, such as parties or weddings.

Meanwhile all scheduled cruise ship travel is to cease.

Cafés and restaurants are to operate on a take-away or delivery basis and strict physical distancing measures should be applied when queuing for a takeaway. Places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing.

Outdoor socialising is limited to four persons, unless all are from the same household. For example, a family of five living in the same household may still socialise outside together, or household groups such as flatmates, but not a mixed group of people from different households.

Strict physical distancing measures still apply and all crowded places, including public amenities, should be avoided. If you see that there is a crowd, find a quiet alternative location, or turn around and go home.

Individuals should work from home unless attendance at the workplace is absolutely essential.

Meanwhile the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended adopting the World Health Organisation case definition for Covid-19 for those being tested for the virus. The patient must now have fever and at least one sign of a respiratory disease like a cough or shortness of breath.

As for new financial measures, it was confirmed that workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week, an increase from €203. The Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week while those who are self-employed will be eligible for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, rather than the Revenue scheme.

The NPHET has recommended that all non-essential retail outlets will close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to put in place physical distancing.

 

What’s open?

· Retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers in non-specialised and specialised stores

· Retail sale of household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences and businesses

· Pharmacies/chemists and retailers providing pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical or dispensing services

· Opticians and optometrists

· Retail sale of medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores

· Fuel stations and heating fuel providers

· Retailers involved in the repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycle repair and related facilities, for example, tyre sales and repairs

· Retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding

· Laundries and drycleaners

· Banks, post offices and credit unions

· Retail sale of safety supply stores selling work clothes and personal protective equipment

· Hardware stores, builders’ merchants and stores that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies and tools essential for gardening, farming and agriculture

· Retail sale of office products and services for individuals working from home and for businesses

· Retailers providing electrical, IT and phone sales, repair and maintenance services for home

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