Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ireland to ease certain COVID-19-related restrictions, some non-essential businesses to reopen from May 18. Other restrictions remain.

This alert affects Ireland

This alert began 15 May 2020 22:03 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions; travel and business disruptions remain

Authorities in Ireland will ease certain coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions. From May 18 the following businesses are allowed to reopen:

  • Hardware stores and stores that sell gardening, farming, and agriculture tools and supplies, as well as farmers markets
  • Bicycle and motorbike stores
  • Office product, electrical, and IT stores
  • Opticians and optometrists

In addition, authorities are still urging people to stay home unless meeting friends or family within 5 km (3.1 miles) of their homes and in groups of a maximum of four people, shopping for essential items, attending to medical needs, exercising within a 5 km (3.1 miles) radius from their homes or commuting to work if their workplace is open and the job cannot be done from home. Authorities are also advising citizens to wear face-coverings in situations where social distancing cannot be practiced.

Anyone entering Ireland from abroad will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days; residents of Northern Ireland, freight transport workers, maritime workers, and pilots are exempt.

Authorities maintain the ban on gatherings of more than four people in public and the closure of many nonessential businesses, educational facilities, and public locations. Public transport remains largely functional, though reduced service is enforced in some sectors. Airports in the country remain open, although with a severely reduced schedule.

Authorities previously announced intentions to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions in five stages from May 18-Aug. 10 which will include a gradual lifting of measures limiting travel, gatherings, and business operations. However, any easing of restrictions will depend on the evolution of disease activity in the country. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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