COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Ireland

These measures are in place until at least Tuesday 5th May, when they will be reviewed and could be changed or extended
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Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, have put in place strict guidelines for people to stay at home from midnight on 27 March 2020. 

The main rule is to stay at home as much as possible. You can only leave your home to:

  • Travel to or from work if you are providing an essential service (see list below) 
  • Shop for food at essential retailers (see list below) 
  • Collect medical prescriptions and medical supplies and go to medical appointments
  • Carry out vital services like caring (including family carers)
  • Exercise briefly within 2 kilometres of your house (You can bring children but must keep 2 metres away from others for social distancing)
  • Do farm work

You are not allowed to meet with anybody you do not live with.

What counts as an essential service?

Below is a list of the current essential services as outlined by the Government. If you click on the links you will find more detailed information about the jobs that come under each heading. 

Which shops are essential retailers?

  • Retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers in non-specialised and specialised stores (such as supermarkets and newsagents) 
  • Retail sale of household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences and businesses
  • Pharmacies/chemists and retailers providing pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical or dispensing services
  • Retail sale of medical and orthopaedic goods in specialised stores
  • Fuel stations and heating fuel providers
  • Retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding
  • Laundries and Dry-cleaners
  • Banks, Post Offices and Credit Unions
  • Retail sale of safety supply stores (work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment, for example)

What other restrictions were put in place?

Working from home

The Government have also said that everyone who can work from home must work from home. This includes essential workers and workers in essential government, utilities or other functions. You can only travel to work if you are providing an essential service.


Cocooning will be introduced for people over 70 and people who are extremely medically at risk to COVID-19. This is to protect people over 70 years or extremely medically at risk people by reducing contact between them and others. This means that these people should not leave their homes. Even within their homes they should reduce all non-essential contact with other members of their household.

Read more about the measures in place due to COVID-19

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