Ireland in lockdown up until Easter Sunday
Ireland went into lockdown from midnight last night with a mandatory order for people to stay at home coming into effect for a two-week period until Easter Sunday April 12th.
Only certain exceptions apply to the measures which are aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 across the country.
As of now people are only being allowed to leave home for essential work, to buy food, or for certain vital reasons such as attending medical appointments.
Shielding or ‘cocooning’ for all those over 70 years of age and certain categories of people who are vulnerable to Covid-19 is also being introduced.
All non-essential retail outlets will close to the public. An updated list of essential retail outlets can be found here.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last night that what happens next in this public health emergency is up to each and every of us and urged people to show that they care by staying at home.
From midnight last night everybody must stay at home in all circumstances expect:
- To travel to and from work for the purposes of work only where the work is an essential health, social care or other essential service or cannot be done from home (a list of these will be provided)
- To shop for food or household goods or collect a meal
- To attend medical appointments or collect medicines and other health products
- For vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people
- To take brief individual personal exercise within 2km of your own home which may include children from your own household as long as you adhere to two-metre physical distancing
- For farming purposes that is food production and care of animals
- All public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household or living unit are prohibited. The virus might be in your household already so please don’t spread it to someone else
- This prohibition includes social family visits that are not for vital reasons already mentioned
- A further range of non-essential shops and services will be closed. The guidance given earlier this week in respect of retail outlets will be revised to reflect this
- Adult community education centres and local community centres will be shut
- All non-essential surgery and health procedures and all other non-essential health services will be postponed
- All visits to hospitals, residential healthcare settings and prisons are to cease, with specific exceptions on compassionate grounds
- Shielding or cocooning will be introduced for all those 70 years of age and specified categories of people who are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19
- Travel to our offshore islands will be limited to residents of those islands
- Pharmacists will be permitted to dispense medicines outside of the current period of validity with an existing prescription in line with the pharmacists clinical judgement
- All public transport and passenger travel will be restricted to essential workers and people providing essential services
- Outside of the reasons listed there is to be no travel outside a 2km radius of your home for any reason
Meanwhile, Gardaí have started a major nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures over this weekend.
Following the announcements by An Taoiseach of the necessity for people to undertake a range of public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country during the weekend.
The focus of this activity will be on encouraging people to adhere to public health measures as announced by An Taoiseach.
The policing operation runs from 7pm tonight until 7am on Monday morning (March 30) and will involve thousands of Gardaí on foot, bike and mobile patrols.
A statement from Gardaí said: “While An Garda Síochána will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, it will intervene where venues/ outlets are not in compliance or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended measures.
“An Garda Síochána acknowledges that the vast majority of the public are being responsible and making great efforts to implementing public health measures including social distancing guidelines, this includes staying active as a family unit and availing of fresh air and exercise.
“However, the presence of large crowds in any one area reduces the effective impact of social distancing.
“An Garda Síochána asks people and families to continue to be responsible, not to attend popular locations for overly long periods and where the numbers of persons starts to increase at any location to leave such areas.”
Announcing An Garda Síochána’s operation for this weekend Commissioner Drew Harris said: “An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe and that will continue this weekend. There will be a major policing plan across the country with high visibility of Garda members at key locations.
“It is vital that people adhere to the social distancing guidelines. This will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The vast majority of people are complying with the guidelines and we want that to continue this weekend. By all of us working together, we can flatten the curve and keep our loved ones safe.”
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, “These high visibility patrols are to provide re-assurance and social distancing advice to the public.
“Garda members will pro-actively engage positively with people. An Garda Síochána will police as it has always done with the consent of the people. It is in everybody’s interest that people comply with these measures.”