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Do I have to self-isolate or restrict my movements?

Find out the difference between self-isolating and restricting your movements


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will need to avoid other people or going places as much as possible. This means self-isolating if you are positive for COVID-19, and restricting your movements if you are a close contact.

Self-isolating and restricting your movement mean that you will need to avoid other people and avoid going places as much as possible. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to self-isolate. If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will need to restrict your movements.

What does it mean to restrict your movements?

If you have been told to restrict your movements, this means you must stay at home and avoid contact with other people for a period of 14 days.

This includes:

  • Not going to work, school or college
  • Not using public transport
  • Not having any visitors to your home
  • Not visiting other people
  • Not going to the shops or pharmacy unless absolutely necessary
  • Not going to any gatherings, including weddings and funerals
  • Not meeting face-to-face with anyone who is vulnerable to COVID-19, including older people, pregnant people, and those with a medical condition

How do I know if I have to restrict my movements?

You will need to restrict your movements for 14 days if you:

You must restrict your movements for a period of 14 days, even if you have been tested and it comes back negative. This is because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to appear in your system. You must also restrict your movements even if you feel well.

What does it mean to self -isolate?

Self-isolating means staying inside, preferably in your room, and avoiding contact with other people entirely. This includes avoiding contact with the people you live with.

If you live with other people, it’s best to stay in a room on your own where you can open a window, if this is possible.

While self-isolating, try your best to follow these guidelines:

  • Stay at home, in a room with a window you can open
  • Keep away from other people - especially older people, anyone with a long-term medical condition
  • If you have not already been tested, phone your GP to arrange a test
  • Use a different bathroom to others in your household, if this is possible
  • If it is not possible to use a different bathroom, clean any surfaces you might have come into contact with after using it, and open the window
  • Use your own towel - do not share a towel with others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue - clean your hands properly afterwards
  • Wash your hands properly and often
  • Clean your room every day with a household cleaner or disinfectant

How do I know if I need to self-isolate?

You will need to self-isolate if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you have had a positive test result for COVID-19, even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms
  • If you are waiting for your test appointment, or you are waiting for the results of your test, and you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you are being tested as a close contact, but you are not currently experiencing any symptoms, then you should restrict your movements instead of self-isolating while you wait for your test and/or test results. If you start to experience symptoms, you will then need to self-isolate.

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Published Octo­ber 29th2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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