New measures were announced on 24 March 2020 in response to coronavirus. Measures to delay the spread of the virus, taken on 12 March 2020, included closing schools, colleges, childcare facilities and state-run cultural institutions. Pubs were also advised to close. These measures will continue.
From 24 March, people should only leave their homes to go to the shops for essential supplies, for medical or dental appointments, to care for others or to take physical exercise.
- No unnecessary travel should take place within Ireland or overseas
- All non-essential indoor visits to other people’s homes should be avoided
- Social gatherings of people outdoors should be no more than 4 people, unless they are all from the same household
- People should work from home unless attendance at their workplace is absolutely essential.
In addition, the Government announced that the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will increase to €350 weekly and will continue for as long as the current emergency lasts.
A new COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme was also announced. This will replace the Revenue Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme.
The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will allow employers to continue to pay their employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. It aims to keep employees on the books with employers, so that they will be able to get back to work quickly after the pandemic and do not need to apply for a social welfare payment. The scheme will run for 12 weeks.
Initially (from Thursday 26 March 2020), the Scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of €410 for each qualifying employee. In April, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on 70% of the weekly average take home pay for each employee up to a maximum of €410. Revenue will provide details of this soon.
As part of the response to coronavirus, private hospitals will operate as public hospitals on a non-profit basis.