Over the past 14 days 292 cases of COVID-19 have arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. These represent almost half of all cases detected in Ireland during that time.
These measures are being put in place to protect the vulnerable in these counties as well as to stop the spread of the virus.
They are in place for 2 weeks from midnight tonight (Friday 7 August) until midnight on Friday 20 August. The situation will then be reviewed.
Travel and transport
You can only travel within your county, other than for the following reasons:
to travel to and from work where that work cannot be done from home
to attend medical appointments, collect medicines and other health products
for vital family reasons, like providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits
for farming purposes, food production or care of animals
You should not travel into any of these counties, other than for the reasons above, and you need to travel through these counties to get somewhere else. You should not stop in Kildare, Laois or Offaly unless for essential purposes.
Public and private transport
You should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible you should not share private vehicles with others from outside your household.
Public health measures
You should continue do the things that will protect yourself and others. This is the best way of interrupting the transmission of the virus:
frequent hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
keep a safe distance of 2 metres from other people, especially those not among your close contacts
minimise your number of close contacts as much as possible and keep a record of your daily contacts in order to facilitate rapid contact tracing if you are diagnosed with COVID-19
wear a face covering when using public transport, in retail settings or any other indoor setting where physical distancing cannot be maintained
The following services remain open with appropriate protective measures in place:
education and childcare
outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
Economic activity and work
Anyone in these counties who can work from home should work from home.
Cafes and restaurants
All cafes and restaurants, including bars operating as restaurants, should only offer takeaway or delivery, or outdoor dining (maximum 15 people with strict physical distancing).
Hotels can remain open but must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons. Existing guests can remain for the duration of their booking.
All indoor gatherings should be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.
Outdoor gatherings should be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.
Cultural and Religious
All cinemas, theatres, casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios are required to close.
Attendance at a funeral service and burial or cremation ceremony should be limited to 25 outdoors. Indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
Places of worship remain open for private prayer, while services are to be held online.
No sporting events or matches should take place, with the following exemptions:
non-contact training outdoors in a maximum group of 15 people may continue
professional and elite sports and horse-racing may continue behind closed doors
inter-county training (max 15 people) and fixtures may continue behind closed doors
Residential and healthcare facilities
Visiting in long-term residential care facilities, acute settings and prisons will generally be suspended in the first instance with the exception of the most critical and compassionate circumstances (for example end of life).
The impact of COVID-19 on society in general and especially those living in nursing homes has been considerable. We recognise that the proposed social distancing measures and restrictions on visiting, while introduced for the overarching public health good and for the protection of people, including those most at-risk, have an unprecedented impact on people’s daily lives, and recommending them is on foot of considered reflection of the potential risk at this time.
The serial testing programme in nursing homes will recommence next week on a fortnightly basis, with a focus on ensuring that facilities in the specified counties are tested early in the programme.
Advice for those over 70 years or medically vulnerable
The over 70s or medically vulnerable are advised to exercise individual judgement, and to stay at home as much as possible, and limit interactions to a very small network for short periods of time, while remaining physically distanced.
They are also advised the following:
if exercising outside, keep 2 metres apart from others and wash your hands as soon as you get home
avoid public transport
you should shop during designated hours and wear a face covering. Family, friends and neighbours may be able to provide assistance with shopping once they adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Alternatively, online services may be considered
shops should ensure that there are designated hours for over 70s and medically vulnerable
if these options are not available to you, you can contact your local authority who are working with local organisations to make sure that people have access to food, essential household supplies and medicines
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