Publications & Insights COVID-19 - New regulations issued on travel restrictions
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COVID-19 - New regulations issued on travel restrictions

Thursday, 09 April 2020

New Regulations (the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations, 2020 were issued by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD on the evening of 7 April 2020 which give a basis for the enforcement by An Garda Síochána of the restrictions on work and travel which were announced by the Irish Government on 27 March 2020 (see our recent update for full details.) The restrictions have now been extended to 5 May 2020, but will be reviewed in line with recommendations by the Chief Medical Officer and the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Separate Regulations (the Health Act 1947 (Affected Areas) Order 2020 set out the geographic area to which the restrictions apply which is currently the entire Republic of Ireland, but further regulations could be issued to limit the restrictions to more limited geographical areas. 

Please click here to view both sets of regulations.

A summary of the key measures  

Most persons may not leave their place of residence without reasonable excuse and there are definitions of what a reasonable excuse includes. Examples are:

  • To provide or assist in the provision of an essential service;
  • To exercise within 2 kilometres of the place of residence (alone or with other persons in that residence);
  • To go to an essential retail outlet to purchase food, fuel and other provisions;
  • To access an essential service, to seek essential medical, health or emergency dental assistance;
  • To attend funerals of close family members; or
  • To fulfil a legal obligation (including initiating emergency legal proceedings or executing essential legal documents). 

There are restrictions on the holding of events and definitions of what constitutes essential retail outlets.

There is also a comprehensive list in Schedule 2 of the regulations as to what constitutes essential services. The list is similar to the guidance published on 27 March but there have been some changes and clarifications. The list includes:

  • Essential retail outlets (which would include retail and wholesale sale of food, beverages and newspapers, pharmacies and chemists and fuel stations).
  • Certain types of manufacturing such as the manufacture of pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations and the manufacture of products necessary for the supply chain of essential services, computers electronic and optical products (including semi-conductors),  medical devices or appliances.
  • The supply, repair and installation of machinery and equipment, and industrial machinery and equipment for essential services is also permitted.   
  • Construction or development of essential health and related projects relevant to preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of Covid-19 and the repair, maintenance and construction of critical road, rail and utility infrastructure, repair/construction of critical road and utility infrastructure and delivery of certain emergency services to businesses and homes. 
  • Banking, insurance and financial services (including post office and credit union services) and accountancy or audit services and legal services provided by practising barristers or practising solicitors.

For further information and advice, please contact Neil Keenan from the ByrneWallace Corporate team.

Please note that the content of this summary does not amount to professional advice. Legal and tax advice should be sought in respect of specific queries. The COVID-19 situationis evolving rapidly and this update is provided on the basis of information available as at 09 April 2020.