Irish Covid lockdown remains in place until March 5

Irish Covid lockdown remains in place until March 5

The current Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until March 5 the Taoiseach announced this afternoon (Jan 26). The existing regulations were to come to an end at the end of this month. Unfortunately they have been extended a further six weeks. This does mean that the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are now using the same ‘play book’, arguably for the first time since this pandemic began to affect the island of Ireland in March 2020.

Additional travel restrictions now come into force however to curtail and, in some cases, stop travel into the Republic of Ireland. The introduction of mandatory quarantine in dedicated facilities, including hotels for those arriving from South Africa and Brazil, as well as those without PCR tests, has also been approved by the Irish Government. In addition there will be no visa-free travel from both Brazil and South Africa for citizens of both countries for the next six weeks until March 5th. If citizens of either country do travel here they will be quarantined.

Those travellers who arrive in the Republic and who then travel in into Northern Ireland will now have to complete every part of the passenger locator form. In reverse the same travel restrictions and regulations will apply to travellers who enter this state from Northern Ireland. There will be more Garda checkpoints near the ports and airports checking on returning travellers.

Stricter rules governing travel into Republic of Ireland to come into force

At Governmental level our Government is liaising with both the UK Government and the Stormont Executive with a view to ensuring travel policies align more and more in both jurisdictions. The Government here also plans to sign off on a data-sharing agreement with the Northern Ireland Executive.

Your guide to the new changes

SchoolsSchools are currently closed for all students with remote learning in place
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)The resumption of the ECCE programme is delayed until 1 Feb
ChildcareOpen for vulnerable children and children of essential workers
ConstructionConstruction will close from 6pm on Friday 8 Jan, with limited exceptions
RetailEssential retail only. Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets will no longer be permitted after existing orders are fulfilled. Click and deliver will continue
Travel into IrelandAll travellers must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result (COVID-19 not detected) within 72 hours prior to arrival with some exceptions

At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, or to take exercise within 5km of home. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.