What latest Covid-19 restrictions mean for firms

Asked to continue to facilitate remote working and more, what impact will the new restrictions have on Irish firms?

Yesterday (19 July), the Irish Government’s Cabinet agreed a number of new restrictions aimed at keeping Covid-19 at bay.

The measures will be effective immediately and will remain in place until 13 September at the earliest.

For businesses, keeping the virus at bay and preventing another surge is critical if the economy is to return to any kind of normal. The Central Statistics Office yesterday revealed how 64pc of firms fear another lockdown and the dangerous impact it could have on their business.

Remote working

With large swathes of the workforce already working from home it will be business as usual. However, where many firms had gradually begun returning workers to offices, the Government has requested all businesses to continue to facilitate remote working where possible.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn appealed to employers and organisations to ensure proper measures are in place for workers and customers.

Hotels and restaurants will remain open and can stay open until 11.30pm, which is 30 minutes later than previously allowed.

Gardaí are to be given extra powers to enforce Covid-19 rules around social gatherings and shut down any facility found to be abusing these measures.

However businesses such as gyms that run classes will have to follow new rules around the numbers attending classes.

Latest measures:

  • Firstly, all businesses are being told to allow staff to work from home where possible.
  • All visits to homes will be limited to six people from outside the home, and from no more than three households. This applies to both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • People over 70 are being advised to limit their interactions to a small network, avoid public transport and to shop during designated hours.
  • Indoor events are to be reduced from 50 people to just six people, except for businesses such as shops and restaurants.
  • Indoor weddings and some religious services such as mass are exempt from the new restrictions and can still happen with up to 50 people.
  • Restaurants and cafes can remain open, with a mandatory closing time of 11.30pm
  • The Government will consider the reopening of pubs that do not serve food at the end of August.
  • New legislation will be introduced to enable Gardaí to immediately close down any pub or facility abusing public health measures.
  • Mass-goers are being advised to use their own judgement about attending services.
  • All sporting events will take place behind closed doors and there will be a strict avoidance of social gatherings before and after matches. Training sessions will be restricted to six people indoors and 15 outdoors.
  • Children’s summer camps are to be kept to the same group of 15 people.
  • No more than six people will be allowed to attend exercise classes in gyms at any time.
  • Public transport should be avoided if possible.
  • On private transport, if households are mixed the wearing of face coverings is advised.
  • Schools are to reopen as planned but work needs to be done to make school transport safer.
  • Local lockdowns in Kildare, Offaly and Laois will be considered by NPHET on Thursday

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 19 August, 2020