Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Ireland introduces COVID-19 recovery plan as of Sept. 16 updating domestic restrictions. Significant business and travel disruptions remain.

Alert Begins 15 Sep 2020 12:48 PM UTC
Alert Expires 29 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Ireland have announced a medium-term "Plan for Living with COVID-19" in effect from Sept. 16, amending many of the restrictions previously in place to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The plan assigns levels of 1-5 based on disease activity in the country with Level 1 being the least severe and Level 5 the most severe; the higher the level, the tougher the restrictions that will be in place. Specific areas can be assigned a level deviating from the national level, depending on the incidence of the virus in that area. Currently, the entire country is assigned at Level 2, meaning the following measures are in place:


  • Private gatherings of up to six people from three different households are allowed.


  • Public gatherings of six people indoors and 15 people outdoors, also from 3 different households, are allowed.


  • Religious gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.


  • Certain organized events, such as sports matches, permit 50+ attendees based on overall capacity.


  • Most businesses and services are permitted to reopen, provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing requirements.


  • Individuals are encouraged to continue working from home where possible.


  • Public transport is limited to 50-percent capacity.


  • Face coverings are mandatory in many enclosed public spaces.


Dublin is also currently assigned Level 2, but due to greater transmission rates in the capital, some stricter measures are being enforced. These include prohibiting more than two households from gathering and indefinitely delaying the reopening of pubs that do not serve food, while such pubs will be permitted to reopen in the rest of the country from Sept. 21.

Authorities previously began allowing travelers from countries deemed epidemiologically safe to enter Ireland without self-isolating. The latest version of the country's "Travel Green List" was published Aug. 6 and includes Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Slovak Republic (Slovakia). Authorities have been reviewing and updating the list on a bi-weekly basis. All travelers, including Irish citizens entering Ireland from other locations, must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. All travelers must also fill out a passenger locator form indicating the address where they will be staying. Freight transport workers, maritime employees, and pilots are exempt from these measures. Authorities continue to advise against nonessential travel abroad for Irish citizens.

Authorities could change the country's - or a region's - level and the subsequent restrictive measures with little-to-no notice depending on the evolution of disease activity.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments 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. As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks.

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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