Covid-19 Information & Advice

Know the symptoms of COVID-19:

If you have symptoms, self-isolate and contact your GP.

Get the most up to date, official information:

Family Carers Ireland has produced an Emergency Care Scheme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please click here to find out more.

For a guide to Covid-19 social welfare supports for family carers including a list of FAQs, please click here.

For guidance on cocooning to protect people over 70 years and those extremely medically vulnerable from Covid-19, please click here. Note advice for Family Carers (section 10). 

Also, Guidance for Health and Social Care Workers who visit homes can be found here. Please note that while this is not aimed at family carers, a lot of the advice is very relevant.

An FAQ document for people with disabilities and family carers (prepared jointly by the HSE, Family Carers Ireland and Inclusion Ireland) can be found here.

  • Stay Safe

    As the country reopens and we learn to live with COVID-19, everyone is urged to use their own judgement and take personal responsibility for protecting themselves and others.

    Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for getting COVID-19:

    • Distance – the risk of getting COVID-19 increases as the distance between you and others gets smaller. Keep 2 metres apart where possible
    • Activity – How you spend time with people and what you do with them can increase your risk. Follow the government’s Stay Safe Guidelines when spending time with others
    • Time – The more time you spend in close contact with other people can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Keep track of who you spend time with and how
    • Environment – Being outdoors is safer than being indoors. Where possible, meet with others outdoors. If this is not possible, keep windows and doors open when meeting others inside
    • Symptoms – Know the symptoms. If you have them self-isolate and contact your GP immediately

    Keep informed about the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Check the virus like you check the weather by using the new COVID-19 data hub.

    You can now travel throughout the country and to Ireland’s offshore islands.

    You are also able to meet others in larger groups both at home and outdoors while following public health advice.

    Organised mass gatherings of limited numbers can now also take place but should be organised to take account of public health advice.

    People over 70 years and the extremely medically vulnerable are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and are advised to stay at home as much as possible and to limit physical contact with other people.

    You are asked to keep a daily log of people you meet for contact tracing purposes.

  • Social/family visits and gatherings

    Restrictions on how many people you can meet have now been lifted but social visits/gatherings should not be larger than the numbers allowed for mass gatherings - 50 indoors and 200 outdoors.

    Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.

    Social visits to people’s homes should be limited to a maximum of 10 visitors – from no more than 4 other households. This is to allow for physical distancing of 2 metres and for adequate ventilation if they are taking place indoors.

    You are advised to limit the number of people you meet with. The more contact you have - the greater the risk of getting and spreading the virus.

    You are asked to keep a daily log of people you meet for contact tracing purposes.

  • Advice for people over 70 and those who are extremely medically vulnerable

    As part of the easing of restrictions, the public health advice for those who are over 70 years of age and people who are extremely medically vulnerable has been updated. The HPSC updated guidance on cocooning is available online to support you, your family and or carers. If you are unsure whether or not you fall into one of the categories of extremely medically vulnerable provided by the HPSC, talk to your GP or hospital clinician.

    Protect yourself from infection by staying at home as much as you can

    It is still recommended that you stay at home as much as you can. Should you wish to visit someone, receive visitors in your home, visit shops, travel and engage in other outdoor activities, it is recommended that you continue to follow the public health and social distancing guidance. The cocooning guidance is designed to help you to minimise risk of COVID-19 infection. As the risk cannot be completely eliminated, you will need to decide what is right for you and your health.

    When COVID-19 is not circulating in the community, it reduces the risk of getting the disease. You can keep yourself informed of the level of COVID-19 in your local area from data on the Department of Health website.

    Visiting and welcoming visitors into your home

    As you begin to meet with increased numbers of people, you may wish to consider meeting with the same core group of family or friends who are aware of your circumstances and willing to adhere to protective measures while you cocoon. Visitors should not visit you if they are unwell, should keep at a 2 metre distance, wash their hands for at least 20 seconds on arrival and should wear face coverings.

    If you choose to visit other people’s homes, tell them in advance that you are coming, try to make sure that no one in the household is unwell with COVID-19, ideally wear a face covering, strictly adhere to the 2 metres physical (social) distancing measures and wash your hands when you return home.

    Shopping, accessing services and restaurants

    As business and services reopen, retailers are encouraged to provide dedicated hours for those who are cocooning. Activities such as religious services, attending libraries and museums are also becoming available.

    If you are attending shops and services is important to follow the public health measures:

    • attend shops that provide dedicated hours for those who are cocooning which will enable you to do your shopping in a safer way
    • ideally wear a face covering
    • strictly adhere to the 2 metres physical (social) distancing measures
    • wash your hands after you return home

    It is important to keep in mind that certain activities carry more risk, for example attending events, crowded areas, activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    If you are going to a restaurant, the following advice will help you to minimise your risk:

    • if you wish, you can indicate that you are cocooning to the service provider
    • make sure you attend venues that are large enough to accommodate 2 metre physical distancing between tables and that are adhering to the measures required for safe reopening of food businesses which include strict hygiene measures and safe entry and exit from the venue
    • keep attendance time as short as possible
    • wear a face covering when moving around the restaurant
    • wash your hands after you return home

    Medical appointments

    It is important that you continue to attend essential medical services such as GPs and receive medical care at home (if appropriate) to protect your health and wellbeing.

    Using public transport

    Public transport should be used in off-peak times if at all possible. You are required to wear a face covering on public transport, stay at a 2 metre distance, if possible, during the journey and wash your hands when you return home.

    For more information, the HPSC guidance has been updated and is available here.

  • Education and childcare measures

    All of the following can now reopen:

    • all adult education facilities
    • creches, childminding facilities and pre-schools
    • summer camps
    • youth clubs
    • all indoor and outdoor amenities for children

    It is recommended that those responsible for reopening these facilities carry out a risk assessment before reopening to manage the public health risk for their customers, attendees, participants and staff. The HPSC Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for these sectors can assist with this.

    The assessment should consider the risk factors for getting COVID-19, that is Distance, Activity, Time and Environment, and include controls such as the implementation of micro-communities, managed entry, improved hygiene facilities, and regular cleaning to limit these. Where possible, activities or events should be held outdoors as this is still safer than being indoors.

    Facilities that reopen should observe physical distancing guidelines and apply the public health checklist to their operation. Guidance on mass gatherings should also be followed.

    Facilities reopening with a return of staff should apply the Return to Work Safely Protocol. This has been designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Further information can be found in the Workers section below.

  • Healthcare and residential care measures

    The resumption of visiting at hospitals, nursing homes and other residential settings on a planned and phased basis is continuing.

    Contact your hospital, nursing home or residential care facility for details ahead of making any visits.

    You should not visit a healthcare or residential care facility if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 infection or are feeling unwell. You should not visit if you have been told you are a close contact of someone confirmed as having COVID-19.

  • Health services

    A phased reintroduction of non-COVID care in hospital and other health service settings has begun. This will be delivered alongside COVID-19 care.

    Pharmacists are allowed by law to dispense medicines outside the dates spelled out in prescriptions according to their own professional judgement.

  • Retail, personal and commercial activities

    Know the symptoms of COVID-19. Stay at home and don’t go out if you have them.

    During Phase 3 a wider range of retail outlets, including contact personal services, and commercial services are now allowed to reopen.

    This includes:

    • wellbeing services - for example: chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology and homoeopathy
    • hairdressers, barbers, nail and brow salons, beauty salons, spas, make-up application services, tanning, tattooing and piercing services
    • driving schools
    • all remaining retail (for example, bookmakers), services and commercial activities
    • driving tests as well as volunteer and other driving services
    • cafés and restaurants providing on premises food and beverages
    • pubs and hotel bars operating as restaurants
    • hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks

    It is recommended that those responsible for reopening these services carry out a risk assessment before reopening to manage the public health risk for their customers, attendees, participants, and staff.

    The assessment should consider the risk factors for getting COVID-19, that is Distance, Activity, Time and Environment, and include controls such as advanced booking, assigned seating, improved hygiene facilities, and regular cleaning to limit these. Hospitality services should refer to the HPSC COVID-19: Guidance for Food Service Businesses in doing this.

    All must implement physical distancing arrangements in their premises to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. All must also apply the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

    Retailers are asked to designate specific shopping times for people over 70 years and people who are extremely medically vulnerable.

    Retailers and commercial services must put measures in place in their premises to minimise the spread of infection among customers and staff.

    These could include:

    • protective screens and barriers
    • operating new queueing approaches
    • limiting the number of customers and staff in the store at any one time
    • providing cleaning stations
    • increasing premises cleaning and hygiene
    • considering changes to store layouts to facilitate physical distancing
    • closing changing room facilities
    • controlling the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any one time
    • introducing frequent cleaning of customer touchpoints and providing hand sanitiser at entrance and exit points
    • extending opening hours to reduce crowding
    • implementing car park restrictions

    Premises should be adequately prepared for the return of employees and customers. Public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 (hand washing, cough and sneeze hygiene, physical distancing, wearing of face coverings) should be communicated to all staff.

    Cleaning schedules, waste disposal arrangements, arrangements to encourage physical distancing between workers and alternative arrangements where physical distancing is not always possible should be implemented.

    Retailers and commercial services are advised to proactively engage with official authorities as they reopen and to consult with public health authorities on ways to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in their premises.

     

  • Workers

    Anyone who can work from home should continue to do so.

    Know the symptoms of COVID-19. Stay at home and don’t go to work if you have them.

    If you have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 - you should stay at home and not go to work.

    Ahead of reopening workplaces, employers are advised to apply the Return to Work Safely Protocol. This has been designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers should also have a COVID-19 Response Plan in place.

    Employers should put measures in place to reduce the number of workers interacting with each other onsite at work at any one time. These could include having a smaller number of workers return initially, shift work, and staggered hours.

    Workplaces should be adequately prepared for the return of workers.

    Public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 (hand washing, cough and sneeze hygiene, physical distancing, wearing of face coverings) should be communicated to all staff.

    Cleaning schedules, waste disposal arrangements, arrangements to encourage physical distancing between workers and alternative arrangements where physical distancing is not always possible should be implemented.

    Employers are advised to proactively engage with official authorities as they reopen and to consult with public health authorities on ways to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace.

  • Overseas travel

    All non-essential travel overseas should be avoided.

    Anyone arriving to Ireland from overseas must complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form. Further information and guidance is available here.

    The arrival of personal non-national maritime leisure vessels is banned (with exceptions such as 'port in a storm').

    The measures above are reflected in the regulations under the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and will be enforced by An Garda Síochána.