Q&A: Ireland's lockdown restrictions explained

Q&A: Ireland's lockdown restrictions explained
Fr Mathew (wearing a mask) at Fr Mathew Statue, St Patrick's, Street Cork.Pic; Larry Cummins

What are the major new restrictions on movement?

Until April 12, which is Easter Sunday, everybody must stay at home.

Is it a lockdown? Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he did not like to use that word, but essentially it is as close as you can get to a lockdown without naming it so.

What are the exceptions?

Travelling to and from work, only where the work is an essential health, social care or other essential service, and cannot be done from home

Which group of workers are considered essential? 

  • Healthcare and social care
  • Public and civil service
  • Utilities 
  • Necessary goods, food and medicines 
  • Financial services 
  • Transport 
  • Communications, including journalists

What about shopping?

Shopping for food or household items or meal collection is permitted.

What about prescriptions and medical appointments?

Attending medical appointments or collection of medicines and other health products is permitted.

How are essential carers affected?

Providing vital care to children, elderly or vulnerable people is permitted.

Is exercise banned?

Not entirely. Personal exercise is restricted, except within 2km of your own home. Children from your own home may accompany as long as you adhere to two-metre distancing.

What happens if you stray more than 2km from your home?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said those who do so may be liable to be detained by gardaí, who will be policing the restriction on movement.

What is cocooning?

Cocooning will be introduced for citizens over 70 years, and specified categories of people considered extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. According to the HSE, over 70s and extremely vulnerable citizens are "strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact".

Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19. All people coming to those homes should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often whilst they are there.

How will those over 70 and considered vulnerable interact with people?

An Post workers will be on hand to check on those affected, he said. Community check-ins will also be vital.

How will public transport run until April 12?

Only essential workers and those providing essential services may be allowed to use public transport.

How are the restrictions going to be enforced to make sure of compliance?

It will involve thousands of Gardaí on foot, bike and mobile patrols. Gardaí said they will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, but will intervene where venues/ outlets are not in compliance or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended measures.

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