Public health measures for COVID-19

Measures and restrictions currently in place

The ‘Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead’ plan covers the phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.

You should continue to follow public health advice to protect yourself and others, including advice on social distancing.

You can get more information on the easing of restrictions on our page: COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.

The Government has published an Economic Recovery Plan to support the reopening of the Irish economy.

Measures in place now

International travel can resume. Ireland is operating the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel within the EU and EEA.

There are restrictions on travel into Ireland and travel abroad.

You should work from home, unless your work is an essential service that cannot be done from home.

Meeting people at home indoors

If your household is not fully vaccinated, you can have visitors indoors from one other unvaccinated household.

If you are fully vaccinated, you can meet indoors with people from one unvaccinated household if they are not at risk of severe illness and no more than 3 households are there.

Fully vaccinated people can visit together indoors with no limit on numbers. This also applies to people who had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 9 months.

Hospitality, services and retail

Restaurants and bars are open for outdoor service for groups of up to 6 people, and for takeaway service. Indoor services have resumed for people who have evidence of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19.

Indoor services, like restaurants and bars, in hotels, B+Bs, self-catering and hostels are open for overnight guests only.

Personal services such as hairdressers are open by appointment.

All retail and shops are open.

Cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural attractions are open. Outdoor facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts, zoos, theme parks and heritage sites have reopened.

Property viewings can take place by appointment only.

Driver Theory Test Services are partially open.

Group activities and events

Outdoor training can take place in pods of up to 15. Outdoor sports matches can take place.

Indoor group activities including summer camps, group exercise and dance are not currently allowed.

Gyms, leisure centres and pools can open for individual training. Swimming lessons and classes can take place. Parents or guardians can attend their child’s swimming lessons.

High performance athletics approved by Sport Ireland and training for adult inter-county GAA can take place.

Outdoor organised events can take place with up to 200 people in attendance. 500 people can attend events in venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more.

Places of worship can have up to 50 people attend services. More than 50 people can attend if the premises is large enough for people to follow strict social distancing measures.

Wedding and funeral services can have up to 50 people attend. Up to 50 guests can attend wedding receptions. From 5 August 2021: Up to 100 guests can attend a wedding.

Events after a funeral service should follow public health measures on household mixing, including visitors to your home and indoor and outdoor dining.

Religious ceremonies such as communions, confirmations and baptisms should not go ahead at this time. From 5 August 2021: Baptisms can take place, but gatherings afterwards are not recommended.

Indoor service in bars and restaurants

From Monday, 26 July, indoor service in bars and restaurants can reopen.

To access indoor service, you must show proof that you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months. Children under 18 who are dining with you do not need proof of vaccination or recovery.

You can use an EU COVID Digital Certificate (DCC) or a HSE vaccination record as proof. You need to have identification to show that the proof of vaccination or recovery belongs to you.

Details of the types of documents that are accepted have been published.

Travel restrictions

Under current restrictions, you can travel to any county in Ireland.

Accommodation services such as hotels, B+Bs, self-catering and hostels are open, with indoor services for overnight guests only.

Travel abroad

International travel for non-essential reasons has resumed.

Ireland is operating the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel within the EU and EEA.

Mandatory quarantine

If you are travelling to Ireland, you may have to quarantine on arrival. In some cases, you must pay in advance for mandatory hotel quarantine.

COVID-19 laws

On 20 March 2020, the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 was signed into law.

This was extended until at least 9 November 2021 by the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid-19) (Amendment) Act 2021.

The Act gives the Minister for Health the power to make regulations to introduce measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

Under this Act, the Minster can make regulations to:

  • Restrict travel to and from Ireland
  • Restrict travel within Ireland to stop people moving to and from affected areas
  • Stop gatherings of people from taking place, and to make organisers of these gatherings put safeguards in place to prevent the virus from spreading
  • Make businesses (such as shops) put safeguards in place to protect their staff and customers
  • Close premises, including schools

Laws in place now

The Government continues to issue guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has also passed laws that make it an offence to do or not do certain things.

Current restrictions are set out in the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 (pdf), as amended, and apply until 2 August 2021.

By law, you can host a social event at your home:

  • If it is indoors and just for the residents and up to 2 other households
  • If it is outdoors and is for:
    • Up to 15 people from 3 households, including your own
    • Up to 6 people from any number of households

If all of the people attending are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the past 9 months, there is no limit on the number attending.

This is set out in Statutory Instrument 329 of 2021 (pdf) .

Gardaí have the power under the Health (Amendment) Act 2020 to attend at the entrance of any private home where they believe an unlawful gathering is happening and direct any non-residents to leave it or direct those approaching not to attend.

Face coverings

The following laws apply until 9 November 2021:

You do not have to wear a face covering if you have reasonable excuse for not wearing one.

The above regulations have been extended until at least 9 November 2021 by Statutory Instrument 273 of 2021 (pdf).

International travel during COVID-19

You must complete a Passenger Locator Form online before you arrive in Ireland and tell the authorities if your residence details change within 14 days. This is set out in the SI 45 of 2021 (pdf), as amended, which applies until 31 August 2021.

Failure to do this is an offence.

Some arrivals to Ireland are required to show proof of pre-departure testing (RT-PCR), unless they are exempt. You may need to self-quarantine if you arrive in Ireland from certain countries without valid proof of vaccination or recovery.

Exemptions from pre-departure testing and self-quarantine are set out in Statutory Instrument 135 of 2021 (pdf), as amended, which apply until 31 October 2021.

Some arrivals may have to quarantine in a designated hotel.

It is an offence if you do not follow the hotel quarantine laws or obstruct a designated official or a member of An Garda Síochána seeking to enforce these hotel quarantine laws. You can be fined up to €2,000 or be sentenced to imprisonment for up to a month or both.

These provisions are set out in the Health (Amendment) Act 2021 (pdf).

Detentions and fines

During COVID-19, various regulations give An Garda Síochána additional powers, including arrest without warrant.

Offences are punishable by a fine of up to €5,000, up to six months imprisonment, or a combination of both.

Fines and fixed penalty notices

For certain offences, you can be fined a fixed amount. A Garda can give you a fixed penalty notice. If you do not pay it within 28 days, you can be prosecuted in court.

A Garda can issue the following fixed penalties under the Health Act 1947 (Fixed Payment Notice and Dwelling Event Provisions) (COVID-19) (No.2) Regulations 2021, as amended:

Offence Fixed charge
Not wearing a face covering on public transport, without a reasonable excuse €80
Not wearing a face covering in a retail outlet, or other specified premises, without a reasonable excuse €80
Attending an unlawful social or recreational gathering in a home €150
Organising an unlawful social or recreational gathering in a home €500
Organising a prohibited event that is not in a home €500

Detention due to health risk

The Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 also allows for detention of someone who is a potential source of infection and risk to public health, if it is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.

You may be detained if you refuse to stay in a specified place like your home or a hospital, or you cannot be isolated in any other way.

If you are detained, you will be tested as soon as possible and you can ask for a review of your detention by an independent person on the grounds you are not a source of infection. Failure to comply with a detention, or interfering with the detention of a person is a criminal offence.

Previous measures

Measures to delay the spread of the virus taken on 12 March 2020 included closing schools, colleges, childcare facilities and state-run cultural institutions. Hospital visits were restricted. Pubs were advised to close. These measures were extended, along with further measures announced on 24 March 2020.

The Government announced the Roadmap for reopening society and business (pdf) on 1 May 2020.

On 2 September 2020, the Resilience and Recovery 2020–2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 (pdf) was published. This included a plan to manage COVID-19 using different levels.

On 23 February 2021, a revised plan to manage COVID-19 was published called Resilience and Recovery: The Path Ahead (pdf). A re-opening plan for May and June was announced on 29 April 2021. A further easing of restrictions for June, July and August was announced on 28 May 2021.

Page edited: 27 July 2021