Public health measures for COVID-19

Measures and restrictions

The 'Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting' 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 information on the easing of restrictions, incuding current measures in place on our page: COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.

Further easing of restrictions from September

A phased easing of restrictions will take place from September, with protective measures in place.

From 20 September:

Up to 100 people can attend indoor group activities (such as dance and sports classes), where everyone has been fully vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months. Otherwise, pods of up to 6 people are allowed. Accompanied children under 18 do not need proof of immunity.

Restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed.

Attendance at work for specific business needs can resume on a phased basis.

Further easing from 22 October

From 22 October, subject to public health advice the remaining restrictions will be lifted. Final restrictions to be lifted include:

  • Social distancing
  • Limits on numbers attending events, and gatherings in private homes
  • Restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies
  • Requirement of proof of immunity to access events and activities (not including international travel)
  • Restrictions on high-risk activities (for example, nightclubs)

You will not have to wear a face covering, except on public transport, in shops and in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

You should continue to self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Indoor service in bars and restaurants

Indoor service in bars and restaurants has reopened.

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.

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 9 October 2021.

These regulations set out restrictions on certain businesses, hotels and other services.

Indoor dining

Regulations on indoor dining are set out in SI 385 of 2021, which apply until 9 October 2021. The regulations set out what you can use as proof of vaccination or recovery.

Businesses can refuse entry if you cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery or you cannot demonstrate that your certificate relates to you. If businesses do not operate on this basis, they may be liable for fines or closure.

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 October 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

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.

The 'Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting’ plan was announced on 31 August 2021. This included a plan for phased easing of restrictions during September and October.

Page edited: 7 September 2021