New coronavirus restrictions announced by Government

The Government has announced further restrictions to try and contain the outbreak of the COVID-19...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.16 24 Mar 2020

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New coronavirus restrictions a...

New coronavirus restrictions announced by Government

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.16 24 Mar 2020

Share this article

The Government has announced further restrictions to try and contain the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The measures include the closure of all non-essential retailers until the outbreak is under control.

People are being asked to stay at home and only leave to go to work if they cannot work remotely and their presence is "essential".


People should only go to the shops for essential supplies, medical and dental appointments, to care for others or to take physical exercise.

Non-essential indoor visits to other people's homes should be avoided.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said all outdoor social gatherings should be of no more than four people, unless they are from the same household.

"We're in this for the long haul and this could go on for weeks, perhaps even months - so we need to maintain our humanity as well.

"And it is OK to see our families and loved ones and look after our mental and physical health.

"But we have to maintain physical distance, do it in small groups only and much less frequently than we would have in the past."

He said no unnecessary travel should take place in the State, or overseas, now or over the Easter break.

From midnight on Tuesday all theatres, clubs, gyms/leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut.

All hotels are to limit their occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons.

All non-essential retail outlets are to close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement physical distancing.

All cafés and restaurants are to limit supply to take away food or delivery.

All sporting events are cancelled, including those behind closed doors - and all playgrounds and holiday/caravan parks will close.

All places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time, to ensure adequate physical distancing.

All organised social indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place, and all cruise ship travel to Ireland is also being suspended.

Meanwhile previous restrictions Mr Varadkar announced in Washington DC earlier this month are being extended until Sunday April 19th.

Mr Varadkar added that construction sites and factories do not have to be shut, but physical distancing can be employed.

Wage subsidy scheme

A €4bn package has also been announced to support businesses.

A Wage Subsidy Scheme is being introduced to encourage employers and companies badly affected by the emergency to keep staff on the payroll.

The scheme will see 70% of the cost of salaries co-funded up to a maximum of €38,000 per year.

Mr Varadkar added: "There will be an increased presence of park rangers and Gardaí in parks and public places to ensure physical distancing is being observed.

"In Ireland, since independence, we have always had policing by consent rather than coercion.

"I don’t intend for that to change now. That’s not our way.

"The new powers afforded to the Gardaí will be used sparingly and only when necessary.

"Let’s all play our part and ensure they are not used at all."

International measures

Ireland has become the latest country to impose tighter restrictions to try and slow the spread.

Several countries in Europe and North America are pressing ahead with stay-at-home restrictions which affect 1.5 billion people worldwide.

The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain has risen by 514 to 2,696, with more than 6,000 new cases also reported.

There have now been 39,673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, up from 33,089 on Monday.

The coronavirus has continued to surge in Spain, forcing a nationwide lock down that has closed shops and bars and prevented more than 46 million people from leaving their homes.

And Britain was placed on a three-week lock down on Monday night.

Shops there selling non-essential goods like clothing and electronics are shut, as are a range of public spaces and other venues including hair salons, libraries, outdoor gyms and places of worship.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a televised address on Monday night that people must not go out in groups of more than two people, unless they are members of the same household.

India has also announced a "total lock down" of its population of 1.3 billion people.

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the US may become the new global epicentre of the pandemic.

In New York - one of the world's biggest virus hotspots - authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds they will need to protect the city's 8.4 million people.

More than 12,000 people have tested positive in the city and 125 have died, with a state-wide lockdown taking effect since Monday.

Meanwhile, California's governor said the state needed 50,000 additional hospital beds to accommodate a surge in cases predicted by computer modelling.

Additional reporting: IRN

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