Public health measures for COVID-19

Measures and restrictions

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

You can get information on current restrictions, including current measures in place on our page: COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland. The measures are subject to change depending on the public health situation.

Changes to restrictions from 22 January 2022

From 6am on 22 January 2022:

  • Pubs and restaurants can return to normal opening times (no longer must close at 8pm)
  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • You no longer need a vaccination or recovery certificate to access hospitality or indoor activities
  • Social distancing is no longer required in hospitality or other settings
  • Restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoor events or activities no longer apply
  • Limits on household visits no longer apply

Read about changes to restrictions on our page COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.

Travel restrictions

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

Arrivals in Ireland who are not fully vaccinated or recovered must show a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours before your arrival.

You do not need to provide any tests if your journey started in Northern Ireland and you were not overseas in the 14 days before you arrived.

Travel abroad

You should check the public health advice, document requirements and COVID-19 restrictions that are in place in the country you are going to. You should do this even if you are travelling to an EEA country.

Ireland is operating the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel within the EU and EEA. From 1 February 2022, the DCC based on primary vaccination will expire after 270 days (9 months). You can get an updated DCC if you get a booster dose.

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 Dáil has voted to extend these powers until 9 February 2022.

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.

Restrictions are set out in the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2021, as amended.

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

Face coverings

The following laws apply until 9 February 2022:

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

Shop owners, managers of premises, or any person in charge of the shop (or other listed premises) are responsible for promoting compliance and informing people that they must wear a face covering in their premises. This is set out in 296 of 2020 (pdf).

The above regulations have been extended until at least 9 February 2022 by Statutory Instrument 585 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 6 February 2022

Failure to do this is an offence.

Some arrivals to Ireland are required to show proof of RT-PCR pre-departure testing.

Exemptions from pre-departure testing are set out in Statutory Instrument 135 of 2021 (pdf), as amended, which apply until 9 February 2022.

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:

Offences and fixed penalties
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.

On 3 December, the Government reintroduced restrictions, including all nightclubs to close until 9 January 2022. Further restrictions were announced on 17 December 2021, including an 8pm closing time for bars, restaurants, live events, cinemas and theatres until 30 January 2022.

Page edited: 22 January 2022