Almost half of Irish adults have broken Covid-19 distance rules

Meeting family, getting more exercise and access to wider choice of shops top reasons for breach of local travel restrictions.

Almost half of Irish adults (44pc) in the Republic of Ireland travelled beyond  2km, 5km or 20km restricted radius for reasons outside essential journeys.

That’s according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults by Esri Ireland.

“It’s reassuring to see the majority of people recognise the importance of geography and science in modern education”

The research found that 64pc of people in Ireland postponed or cancelled holidays abroad in 2020 with almost a quarter (22pc) opting for staycations. Respondents aged under 25 were found to be twice as likely to travel abroad in 2020 compared to older age groups

Conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Esri Ireland, the study discovered that the top three non-essential reasons for people breaching local travel restrictions were to meet family members (17pc), to get more exercise (16pc) and to gain access to a wider choice of shops (14pc).

Geography is no longer history

Looking to future methods of managing and planning for other unexpected events or pandemics, the majority of respondents agree that geography and science will play an important role. 55pc of respondents believe that geography and science lessons are more important following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Having been removed as a core Junior Certificate subject in 2018, 59pc believe that geography should be reinstated as a mandatory subject for Junior Certificate students.

“Our day-to-day lives have been dramatically impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus and this survey sheds some light on how the Irish public has collectively approached the imposed travel restrictions,” said Paul Synnott, managing director of Esri Ireland.

“Location, place and geography play a key role in terms of containing localised outbreaks, limiting the spread of the virus across borders and helping the public to understand and visualise these restrictions.

“It’s reassuring to see the majority of people recognise the importance of geography and science in modern education. Geographic knowledge empowers us to think critically, see the big picture and solve problems. Mapping and geography are essential for today’s policy-makers requiring detailed and accurate information to manage this crisis, but also for tomorrow’s leaders seeking to build a stronger public health policy and enact the changes that our world needs to address future challenges,” said Synnott.

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 18 September, 2020