PEOPLE caught travelling without an essential reason or exercising more than 2km from their home can now be hit with a fine or a prison sentence.
Under the new regulations signed last night by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, those caught flouting the new measures can be faced with a fine of up to €2,500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
The move last night followed a meeting by Commissioner Drew Harris with members of the government, including the Attorney General, regarding the measures which had been included in legislation passed through the Oireachtas two weeks ago.
It also follows an incident in Fermoy on Monday in which a car travelling from Meath was detected, with four people on board, allegedly going on a spin.
It also follows concerns by people in coastal areas about an influx of people from other parts of the country to holiday homes for the Easter holiday season, despite the restrictions on movement which are not due to expire until Sunday and which are expected to be extended.
Although gardaí have been on checkpoint duty as part of the coronavirus response to ensure a clampdown on movement to prevent the spread of the virus, they have only been able to act in an advisory capacity until today.
From this morning, gardaí are now able to order people to comply with the public health guidelines and issue sanctions if they don't.
Under the regulations, someone believed to be at risk of spreading the virus, and who fails to self isolate, can be detained by the HSE and gardaí, and could face up to three months in prison.
The measures were signed last night by Minister Harris after it emerged yesterday evening that 210 people deaths in the Republic are associated with Covid-19.