On 24 March 2020, the Irish Government announced new restrictions to try and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. You can read the details of the new restrictions on gov.ie and in our document on public health measures for COVID-19.
The following is an indicative list of what are considered essential retail outlets:
- Retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers in non-specialised and specialised stores
- 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
- Retailers involved in the repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycle repair and related facilities (for example, tyre sales and repairs)
- 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 drycleaners
- Banks, post offices and credit unions
- Retail sale of safety supply stores (for example, work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment)
- Hardware stores, builders’ merchants and stores that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment, supplies and tools essential for gardening/farming/agriculture
- Retail sale of office products and services for individuals working from home and for businesses
- Retailers providing electrical, IT and phone sales, repair and maintenance services for home
Scams target people of all ages and backgrounds. Scams are about tricking you into parting with your money and are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to spot. Sadly, during the coronavirus pandemic, fraud and other scams are increasing.
Gardaí have issued a warning in relation to a number of COVID-19 related scams. Examples include:
- Online shopping scams involving sought-after items like face masks and hand sanitiser
- People calling to your house offering services in relation to Covid-19, including services for medically-related tests
- Phising emails with an attachment claiming to contain vital information about the virus and prompting you to open the attachment
- Hoax websites asking you to make a donation to a fake charity supporting a coronavirus cause
How can I protect myself?
There are things you can do to protect yourself from scams. You should:
- Know who you are dealing with: Research the company to make sure it is a legitimate business or charity
- Be alert for suspicious behaviour: Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true. Check the website is secure by looking for a closed security padlock symbol in the browser window bar. Don’t click or download anything you don’t trust.
- Protect your personal information: Don’t give out any personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Don’t give out personal information in an email or when chatting online.
- Protect your money: Never send money by bank transfer unless you are absolutely certain you are sending it to someone you know and trust. Sending money by bank transfer is like sending someone cash and generally once you send it, it’s gone. Always use a secure method of payment such as credit card, debit card or other payment services such as PayPal (that offer a payment protection scheme). You can ask your bank or card provider to reverse the transaction through a process called chargeback.
The CCPC has more advice about how to watch out for scams.
The CCPC publish regular consumer warnings about misleading or fraudulent websites.