Following a Cabinet meeting today (Friday 07 August 2020) the Government has decided to introduce a number of public health measures for Kildare, Offaly and Laois. The decision was made in response to the increased spread of the disease in these counties, and is based on very clear advice of public health officials.
These limited restrictions will be introduced within Kildare, Offaly and Laois for a period of two weeks, from midnight tonight.
People in these counties will be asked to:
- Restrict their movements to travel within their own county except for work or other essential reasons
- Limit their contacts to six visitors and no more than 3 households in their home.
- Work from home where possible AND
- For those people at a higher risk from Covid-19 using their own judgement, are advised to stay at home and limit visitors except for essential care services
The following restrictions will apply to certain services in the county
- Cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, bingo halls and other indoor recreational, sports, dance and cultural outlets should close
- Restaurants and pubs serving food should close except for services to takeaway and deliveries and limited outdoor dining
- Nursing homes visits should be suspended
Government, working with employers and employee representatives have also moved to ramp up testing in affected sectors within the region.
Any business premises that requires to be closed on public health grounds will be closed and will not reopen until public health officials are satisfied that it no longer poses a threat.
We know these measures will be disappointing for many but acting quickly and decisively will ensure we can contain these outbreaks quickly and protect our communities.
Notes to editors:
Public health measures being introduced for the counties of Kildare, Offaly and Laois for a period of two weeks commencing as of midnight 7th August:
· All people in these regions should restrict their movements including limiting travel to within their county, other than for the following reasons :
- to travel to and from work, or for purposes of work and where that work cannot be done from home;
- to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products;
- for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits;
- for farming purposes i.e. food production and/or care of animal.
· No travel into the specified counties, other than for exemptions (as above), and unless travel through these counties is for the purpose of reaching a destination outside of these specified counties (in this regard, people should not stop in the specified counties, unless for essential purposes);
· People should not use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, and where possible should not share private vehicles with others from outside their household;
· All indoor gatherings including all types of household, private, family or social indoor gatherings of people to be restricted to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 3 households in total, while maintaining physical distancing.
· Outdoor gatherings to be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining physical distancing.
· Higher risk groups, using their own judgement, be advised to avoid public transport, stay at home and limit visitors except for essential care services
· Cafes, restaurants and pubs operating as restaurants should close except for takeaway and deliveries and outdoor dining up to a maximum of 15 people with appropriate social distancing
· Cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, bingo halls, casinos, betting shops and other indoor recreational and cultural outlets should be closed
· All workers should work from home where possible
· Libraries may remain open
· No sporting events or matches should take place. However, non-contact outdoor sports and training may continue subject to maximum of 15 people, contact sports should cease except for training for professional and elite athletes
· Horse racing behind closed doors may continue.
· Gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools, exercise and dance studios, sports clubs and similar venues should close
· School reopening preparations may continue
· Childcare facilities may stay open
· Outdoor amenities including playgrounds may remain open with appropriate social distancing advice
· All retail may remain open but with strict adherence to public health guidance including the wearing of facemasks
· Personal services such as hairdressers and barbers may remain open, subject to appropriate social distancing and public health measures
· Prison, Nursing homes and acute hospital visits should be suspended, except on compassionate grounds
· 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.
· Places of worship may remain open for private prayer. Services should be delivered on line or through other remote means
· Funerals may take place with a maximum attendance of 25 persons.
· All other business, unless otherwise specified, may remain open, subject to appropriate social distancing and public health measures
· Serial testing for all healthcare workers in LTCF will recommence on 10th August
· Local Authorities remain available and ready to support communities in affected counties including through their community response teams to provide for supports to vulnerable of the community affected by these additional restrictions.
All employees (other than some public sector employees who pay a modified rate of social insurance) and self-employed, including non-nationals and people living in Direct Provision, are entitled to claim and receive the special Covid-19 Illness Benefit payment. The quickest and easiest for way to apply is online at www.MyWelfare.ie .
A new National Committee on Cases and Outbreaks of Covid-19 in High Risk Settings will review existing protocols and compliance regimes to identify any additional control measures required
Decisions on further disease mitigation measures, suspension and/or resumption of activities on these and other sites will be made by the local public health teams, in consultation with the newly established National Standing Committee on outbreaks in high risk settings, which will report to NPHET
A proactive intervention, a process of regular and rapid screening testing of workers at larger food plants and other large businesses in the region will be undertaken immediately, under the direction of the newly established National Committee
An extensive communications plan will be put in place through employers, trade unions, other stakeholders, and nationally through the Government, to inform employees in these sectors of the latest public health advice and their social welfare entitlements; this will include targeted material in other languages.