Ireland


Author: Eoin Cassidy, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP
Contact: ecassidy@mhc.ie (LinkedInProfile)

Overview of legal measures as of 28 July 2020 as response to the coronavirus. . Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.

Introduction

The government of the Republic of Ireland has issued a number of legislative instruments in order to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 and provide necessary social and financial protections for individuals and businesses. The country is currently in Phase 3 of a phased reopening of society. Phase 4 is due to begin on 10 August 2020.

Following an inconclusive general election on 8 February 2020, Ireland was led by a “caretaker government” during much of the lockdown period. Those in power had to remain so until the successive government was formed. The current government took office on 27 June 2020 and is a majority coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

For up to date information relating to the Irish jurisdiction, please visit https://www.mhc.ie/latest/news/safe-zone-key-covid-19-considerations-for-your-organisation

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP is a full service Irish law firm providing strategic business and commercial legal advice.



1. INTERVENTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS

1.1 Legal basis


The Irish government has enacted two main pieces of legislation to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. These acts give the relevant ministers the power to make further regulations they believe to be necessary in the public interest.

Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020

On 20 March 2020 the Irish Government passed the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 (the “2020 Act”). Part 2 amends the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (the “2005 Act”) and Part 3 amends the Health Act 1947 (the “1947 Act”).

The amendments to the 2005 Act provide for illness benefit to be paid to someone who suffers incapacity to work due to COVID-19. These amendments allow the Minister to make regulations for the purposes of giving full effect to the 2020 Act. The amendments to the 2005 Act were originally due to operate until 9 May 2020. This was initially extended to the 19 June 2020 by S.I. 155/2020 and then further extended to 10 August 2020 by S.I. 207/2020.

The Part 3 amendments to the 1947 Act operate until 9 November 2020 (the “relevant period”) unless a resolution approving continuation is passed by the government. The 2020 Act inserts a new section 31A into Part IV of the 1947 Act which deals with infectious diseases. It allows the minister to make regulations including but not limited to:

  • Restrictions on travel to and from the State, restrictions on internal travel and restrictions on movement;

  • Prohibition of events;

  • Issuing safeguards to be put in place by event organisers, owners or occupiers of premises or managers of educational institutions; and

  • Any other measure that the minister considers necessary in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of COVID-19.


Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020

On 27 March 2020 the Irish Government passed the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 (the “COVID Act”) in order to mitigate the effect of the spread of disease and the adverse economic consequences.

The act is divided as follows:

  • Part 2 deals with temporary protections for tenants in rented residential accommodation, see section 5.1 below;

  • Part 3 deals with planning and development issues, see section 1.7 below;

  • Parts 4 & 5 amend certain acts that regulate health and social care professions and the Mental Health Act 2001, see section 1.6 below;

  • Part 6 amends the Defence Act 1954 by providing for the re-enlistment of formerly enlisted persons for a specified period of time in order to address a deficiency of necessary skills or expertise;

  • Part 7 provides for a temporary wage subsidy, see section 3.1 below;

  • Part 8 amends the Redundancy Payments Act 1967, see section 3.1 below;

  • Part 9 amends the Civil Registration Act 2004 in relation to the management, maintenance and control of the system of registration of births, stillbirths, adoptions, deaths and marriages. The emergency period in this regard shall run until 31 August 2020 (S.I. 194/2020).







1.2 Border


The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements for 14 days upon arrival. The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising people to avoid non-essential travel until further notice.

S.I. 181/2020 came into operation on 28 May 2020 and provided that any international passenger must complete a Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form upon arrival in Ireland and give it to a relevant person (i.e. immigration officers appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality or officers appointed by the Health Service Executive). If they do not comply they will be guilty of an offence.

These regulations do not apply to passengers entering the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland. These regulations remain in operation until 10 August 2020 (S.I. 251/2020).

The Green List

The government has recently published its “Green List” of locations that are safer to visit. This list will be reviewed every 2 weeks. Anyone travelling to Ireland from a green list location will not have to restrict their movements for 14 days upon arrival. For up to date information on the green list, that is subject to change, please click here. Despite the green list, the advice to Irish people from the Department of Foreign Affairs remains the same – avoid all non-essential travel.



1.3 Visas

The Immigration Service Delivery has temporarily ceased processing visa applications except for emergency/priority cases. Visa applications can still be submitted online and applicants will be able to submit their supporting documentation as soon as their relevant embassy re-opens. This means visa required nationals are currently unable to enter Ireland.

All valid residency permissions which were due to expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020 were automatically renewed by 2 months. This renewal period was extended on 13 May 2020 for another two months. All valid residency permissions which were due to expire between 20 May 2020 and 20 July 2020 are automatically renewed for two months. On 16 July 2020, the ISD announced that immigration and international protection permissions that are due to expire between 20 July 2020 and 20 August 2020 are automatically renewed for 1 month.




1.4 Lockdown


12 March 2020

On 12 March 2020 the Irish Prime Minister (An Taoiseach) at the time, Leo Varadkar, made a statement addressing the following measures:

  • Closure of schools, colleges and childcare facilities and cultural institutions from 13 March;

  • Cancellation of indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people;

  • Cancellation of outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people;

  • Working from home where possible;

  • Self-isolation for those entering the country.


17 March 2020

On 17 March 2020 the Irish Prime Minister (An Taoiseach) at the time, Leo Varadkar, made a statement addressing the following measures:

  • Cancellation of large public gatherings;

  • Closure of pubs and bars;

  • Recommendation to curtail or cancel social gatherings like parties, weddings and other celebrations.


20 March 2020

On 20 March the first legislation in relation to COVID-19 is brought into force, see section 1.1 above.

S.I. 121/2020 – Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020

These regulations were made by the Minister for Health on 7 April 2020 and imposed restrictions on the movement of people and events.

Sections 4, 5 and 6 were deemed to have come into force on 9 March 2020 and sections 7 and 9 were deemed to have come into force on 13 March 2020.

Section 4 prohibits a person leaving their residence unless it is for an essential purpose and any exercise must be done either alone or with other members of the same household within a 2km radius of the residence. Examples of an acceptable reason to leave a residence include:

  • Providing an essential service;

  • Going to an essential retail outlet to obtain items for themselves, other members of their household or vulnerable people;

  • Attending a medical appointment or accompanying another member of their household or a vulnerable person;

  • Seeking medical assistance for themselves, other members of their household or vulnerable people;

  • Attending a funeral;

  • Fulfilling a legal obligation.

Section 5 prohibits any event that is not related to an essential service and prohibits a person from attending such event. Where an event is related to an essential service, the number of participants must be limited to no more than is reasonably necessary having regard to the nature of the purposes for which the event is being held.

Schedule 1 lists essential retail outlets and Schedule 2 lists essential services.

These Regulations were initially in operation until 8 April 2020 but this was extended to 5 May 2020 (S.I. 128/2020).

This date was further extended to 18 May 2020 and the geographical limit for exercise was increased from a 2km radius to a 5km radius (S.I. 153/2020).

S.I. 174/2020 provided the final extension of the date to 8 June 2020. These regulations also relaxed some of the other restrictions including allowing groups of up to four people from different households to meet outdoors whilst observing social distancing rules.

These regulations represented Phase 1 of the government’s Roadmap to Reopening and have now been revoked by the below regulations as we moved into Phase 2.


S.I. 206/2020 – Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

S.I. 206/2020 came into operation on 8 June 2020 and remained so until 29 June 2020, which represents Phase 2 of the government’s Roadmap for Reopening. These regulations revoked the first set of regulations described above (S.I. 121/2020).

The restriction of movement of persons in relation to exercise, social and recreational purposes has been relaxed further as follows:

  • A person may travel anywhere within the county they reside in or to another county provided they are within a 20km radius from their residence;

  • A person may exercise outdoors with a maximum of 14 other people from different households;

  • A person may gather outdoors for social or recreational purposes with a maximum of 14 other people from different households;

  • A person may gather indoors for social or recreational purposes with a maximum of five other people from different households;

  • A person may only organise an event where the maximum amount of people attending is 15 persons and a breach of this provision (regulation 6) is an offence.

These regulations represented Phase 2 of the government’s Roadmap to Reopening and have now been revoked by the below regulations as we moved into Phase 3.

S.I. No 234 of 2020 – Health Act 1937 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 3) Regulations 2020

S.I. 234/2020 came into operation on 29 June 2020 and represents Phase 3 of the government’s Roadmap for Reopening. These regulations were initially due to be in operation until 20 July 2020, but this has since been delayed to 10 August 2020 in response to number of cases of Covid-19 (S.I. 252/2020). These regulations revoked the Phase 2 regulations (206/2020).

The restriction of movement of persons in relation to exercise, social and recreational purposes has been relaxed further as follows:

  • A person may travel anywhere in Ireland;

  • From 13 July 2020 face coverings must be worn on public transport and not doing so is an offence. Face coverings should also be worn by all customers in shops and shopping centres;

  • Reopening of educational and childcare facilities – including adult education facilities, crèches, child-minding facilities and pre-schools, summer camps, youth clubs and all indoor and outdoor amenities for children;

  • Reopening of businesses – wellbeing services, hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons etc., driving schools and all remaining retail, services and commercial activities

  • Reopening of cafes and restaurants providing on-premises food and beverages; pubs and hotel bars operating as restaurants; and hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks;

  • Reopening of religious and cultural buildings – including museums, galleries, music venues (but excluding nightclubs and discos);

  • Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permissible when conducted in line with public health advice;

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people are permissible when conducted in line with public health advice;

  • Recommencement of sporting activities and the reopening of indoor gyms and exercise facilities, yoga and dance studios and swimming pools (subject to the restrictions on numbers of public gatherings).

Despite business being permitted to reopen, government guidance remains that if you can work at home, you should continue to do so.

Phase 4 is due to commence on 10 August 2020. The opening of pubs, bars and nightclubs that do not serve food has been delayed until that date. A further anticipated change is that social gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be permissible.





1.5 Sanctions

The 2020 Act amends the Health Act 1947 by allowing the relevant minister to make regulations for the purposes of preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Section 31A(6) states that where someone contravenes any such regulation they will be guilty of an offence. This section allows the Irish police (An Garda Síochána) to question and arrest someone who is not complying with the regulations. Those found guilty are liable to a fine (not exceeding €2,500) and/or a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment.

These sanctions therefore apply to a contravention of either S.I. 121/2020 or S.I. 206/2020.

The 2020 Act inserts section 38A into the Health Act 1947 which relates to detention and isolation of people in certain circumstances. A breach of this section attracts a fine (not exceeding €2,500) and/or a maximum sentence of 3 months imprisonment.

Further regulations made under the 2020 Act (S.I. 244/2020) make it an offence to take public transport without wearing a face covering unless the person has a “reasonable excuse”, as defined in the regulations. These regulations are in force from 13 July 2020 to 5 October 2020.


1.6 Health care

Part 4 of the COVID Act introduced key measures to allow health and social care professionals who want to return to work to have their applications to be registered with their regulatory bodies accelerated. The COVID Act allows previously-registered health and social care professionals to include doctors, pharmacists, nurses, dentists and other health and social care professionals to be restored to their respective registers without having to pay a fee. These registrations are valid until 31 July 2020 but the Minister for Health has the power to extend this date if required.

There are also a number of provisions in Part 5 of the COVID Act amending the Mental Health Act 2001 regarding mental health tribunals.

S.I. 213/2020 permits pharmacy owners an extension to 30 September 2020 for the payment of a fee in connection with an application made within the emergency period for the continued registration of a retail pharmacy business.

S.I. 98/2020 allows for certain prescriptions to be issued in electronic form during the emergency period.

S.I. 101/2020 provides for payments to be made to consultants for the following services:

  • Dedicated respiratory assessment;

  • Covid-19 remote consultation;

  • Remote consultation;

  • Out of hours consultation.


1.7 Planning & Development

Part 3 of the COVID Act amends the Planning and Development Act 2000 to extend the time limits relating to planning and development. The time periods shall be paused for a period of 56 days, from the 29 March 2020 until 23 May 2020 (S.I. 165/2020).

Statutory timelines of planning applications and/or public consultations periods resumed on 24 May 2020 in the following manner:

  • All new planning applications submitted on or after 24 May 2020 will apply the standard statutory timelines;

  • If a planning application was submitted during the period of 27 March 2020 until 23 May 2020, the relevant statutory timeline began on 24 May 2020; and

  • The statutory timelines for planning applications submitted prior to 29 March 2020 will depend on the number of days of the time period that remained at that date. The remaining time period resumes on 24 May 2020.

In addition, where the default lifespan of 5 years has been applied to a planning permission, this will be extended by 56 days. The time period for making an application for leave to seek judicial review of a planning decision has been extended by 56 days.

Planning authorities reopened their public counters on 25 May 2020 and site visits for planning assessment purposes may now proceed, while observing social distancing guidelines.

S.I. 92/2020 amends the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 allowing for restaurants and cafes to change their use to provide take away food without having to apply for separate planning permission during the emergency period.

Various regulations were passed (S.I. 93/2020; S.I. 112/2020; S.I. 113/2020) which relax the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (aside from section 181 which relates to development by state authorities), the required energy standards and the requirements for certain certificates in relation to the following classes of buildings during the emergency period:

  • acute and other health and social care accommodation;

  • self-isolation or other Covid-19 related short stay accommodation;

  • Covid-19 and other step down accommodation;

  • medical testing centre or laboratory;

  • emergency management coordination facilities;

  • mortuary facilities;

  • ancillary and other accommodation including storage facilities;

  • ancillary infrastructure and other works to support the above development.



1.8 Tax

Tax Breaks

Irish Revenue has introduced a number of measures designed to assist small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are experiencing cash flow and trading difficulties due to COVID-19. The measures include the suspension of interest on late payments and a suspension of all debt enforcement activity.

In addition to these measures, Irish Revenue has indicated that it is prioritising the processing of tax refunds for companies engaged in research and development activities.

Import of Goods

The EU has permitted the import of goods to combat COVID-19 from outside the EU, free of related duties and VAT from 30 January 2020 to 31 July 2020.

Corporation Tax

For corporate tax purposes, a company must be tax resident in Ireland meaning that the location of board meetings is the key consideration. Irish Revenue will recognise situations where people are unable to travel for these meetings and will disregard the presence or absence of these individuals in Ireland for the purposes of the tax residency of the company.

Personal Tax

Irish Revenue has confirmed that where individuals spend more days in Ireland than intended in 2020 due to the pandemic, it will consider this ‘force majeure’ for the purpose of establishing an individual’s personal tax residence position.


1.9 Court Proceedings

On 16 April 2020, the courts issued a practice direction on the conduct of remote trials in the Supreme Court. Both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal will hear certain cases remotely. All cases before the High Court are adjourned unless they qualify as “urgent applications”. Court offices are now open but on an appointment basis only.



2. SUPPORT OF BUSINESSES

2.1 Support Measures

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has put in place numerous supports to help businesses impacted by COVID-19. For up to date information, visit the Department’s website.


Irish banks and certain retail credit and credit servicing firms introduced three breaks on mortgages, personal loans and business loans for some business and personal customers affected by COVID-19. Over 22,000 small and medium size enterprise (SME) payment breaks have been processed and the initial three month period has been extended to six months.


Credit Guarantee Scheme

The Irish Government has introduced the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS), published by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland. The CGS is a scheme where the Irish Government will guarantee up to €2 billion of loans granted by Irish banks to SMEs.

Viable micro, small and medium sized enterprises that meet the eligibility criteria can participate in the CGS. SMEs are defined by the Standard EU definition as enterprises that:

  • Have fewer than 250 employees;

  • Have a turnover of €50 million or less, or €43 million or less on their balance sheet;

  • Are independent and autonomous i.e. not part of a wider group of enterprises;

  • Have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies; and

  • Are established and operating in the Republic of Ireland.

In order for the CGS to take effect, legislation needs to be passed amending the Credit Guarantee Act 2020. A bill was in its final stage on 23 July and is expected to be signed into law shortly thereafter. This Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill 2020 will allow for the removal of the portfolio cap so that the size of the scheme can increase in conjunction with the needs of COVID-19.


Future Growth Loan Scheme

The Irish Government announced on 8 April 2020 an additional €200 million in COVID-19 funding for the Future Growth Loan Scheme, to provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme is available to eligible SME and Small Mid-Cap businesses, and the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors in Ireland, to support strategic long-term investment by providing loans with a term of 8-10 years. The initial maximum interest rate is capped at 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans more than or equal to €250,000 for the first six months. Interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans. Loans will range from €100,000 (or €50,000 for farmers) to €3 million per eligible business, with unsecured loans up to €500,000.


Sustaining Enterprise Fund

The new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at companies with 10 or more employees impacted by COVID-19 that are vulnerable but viable. Eligible businesses must have seen a negative impact arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and also have seen (or expect to see) a 15% or greater reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit, or a significant increase in costs, as a result of COVID-19.

The Fund is open to eligible companies which:

  • Employ 10 or more full-time employees;

  • Are operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors; and

  • For SMEs – have applied for funding from a financial institution, including, where appropriate, through the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan/Future Growth Loan Schemes; or

  • For large companies – have applied for funding with an appropriate financial institution.

The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 with an annual administration fee of €4%. There is a 3 year grace period for repayment and repayment is due by the end of year 5, on successful achievement of the project objective.


Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme

S.I. 78/2020 provides for microenterprises to apply for the Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme 2015 where a minimum of 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by Covid-19. The loans generally available are up to €25,000 but a higher amount of up to €50,000 will be permissible until 1 April 2021.


Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund

Within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) there is a €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund (PSRF) which supports medium and large enterprises in Ireland that have been affected by COVID-19. The PSRF will focus on investment in large and medium size enterprises which in this context means enterprises that employ over 250 people or that have a turnover in excess of €50 million.


2.2 Additional measures - insolvency

Generally in Ireland, when a company goes into insolvent liquidation, the liquidator must bring proceedings against the directors, seeking to restrict them acting as directors, unless the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) grants the liquidator relief from doing so on the basis that the director acted honestly and responsibly. The consequences of the COVID-19 crisis have made many businesses that were solvent, and will likely become solvent again, technically insolvent.

On 4 June 2020 the ODCE issued a guidance document stating that if a company has become insolvent because of events outside the directors’ control, the ODCE would not generally consider that they have behaved improperly. Each case will assess whether the directors acted honestly and responsibly.


3. SUPPORT OF THE JOBMARKET

3.1 Legal basis

Temporary Wage Subsidy

Part 7 of the COVID Act introduced a temporary wage subsidy scheme which provides financial support to employers from all sectors adversely affected by COVID-19, excluding the public sector and non-commercial semi-states.

To qualify for the scheme, employers must:

1. be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19;

2. be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover;

3. be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully; and

4. retain their employees on the payroll.

Where an employer qualifies for the subsidy under section 28(2)-(4) of the COVID Act, then the Revenue Commissioners shall pay a temporary wage subsidy to the employer, calculated by the Minister for Finance in accordance with section 28(6) of the COVID Act.

Please click here for the breakdown of the various subsidies paid, based on an employee’s weekly earnings.

The scheme was initially expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020 but was extended to 31 August 2020.



Redundancy Payments

Part 8, section 29 of the COVID Act amends the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 whereby a person shall not have the right to redundancy payment by virtue of short-term lay off during the emergency period. The emergency period is defined as the period beginning 13 March 2020 and ending 10 August 2020 (S.I. 193/2020).


Income Support

The Irish government introduced a COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The payment is available to people who have lost their job on or after 13 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those affected will receive a flat rate of €350 per week. The payment was initially scheduled to run until 29 June 2020, but this has been extended to April 2021. The rates will change on 17 September 2020 and 1 February 2021. For further details on rates changes, click here.



Social Welfare Supports

S.I. 96/2020 increases the rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Benefit (self-employed) and Illness Benefit to €147 until 10 August 2020 (S.I. 222/2020; S.I. 223/2020).

S.I. 97/2020 provides that, despite being capable of work, a person who has been certified or notified as being a probable source of infection of COVID-19 will be deemed incapable of work and may be entitled to illness benefit.


Mortgage Breaks

Irish banks and certain retail credit and credit servicing firms introduced breaks on (i) mortgages, (ii) personal loans and (iii) business loans for some business and personal customers affected by COVID-19. Over 65,000 mortgage payment breaks have been processed. Applications were accepted up to 30 June 2020.



4. SUPPORT OF SPECIFIC SECTORS

4.1 Support of charities

The Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development announced the launch of a €40 million package of supports for charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises on 8 May 2020.

€35 million of the package is designated to the COVID-19 Stability Fund and the remaining €5 million is designated to the Philanthropy Fund.

The Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) has extended the deadline for filing annual reports. Where a charity is due to file its annual report between 12 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, the deadline for filing is 31 October 2020. This follows an earlier extension of the deadline to 30 June 2020.


4.2 Support of nursing homes

The Irish Minister for Health announced in April 2020 new measures to help tackle the rising COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes. This temporary scheme is intended to help nursing homes financially with up to €72 million available in supports over a three-month period.

Under the scheme, the maximum assistance that has been available to a nursing home per month has been €75,000.



5. TENANCY AND LEASE

5.1 Legal basis & Measures

Part 3 of the COVID Act makes temporary amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 by introducing an emergency period of 3 months beginning on 27 March 2020.

The protections provided to tenants include but are not limited to the following:

  • Landlords are prohibited from serving notices of termination during the emergency period;

  • Notices of termination which were served prior to 27 March 2020 are paused for the duration of the emergency period. In those cases, a “revised termination date” rather than the termination date provided for in the notice of termination will apply;

  • Rent increases due to come into effect within the emergency period are paused;

  • Notices of rent increases that were due to take effect during the emergency period will take effect immediately after the expiration of the emergency period.

This emergency period was initially extended to 20 July 2020 (S.I. 224/2020) and again to 1 August 2020 (S.I. 251/2020).


6. REOPENING AND RECOVERY

6.1 Government Roadmap

On 1 May 2020 the Irish Government published a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (the Roadmap), which originally consisted of five phases, each for a period of three weeks. The Roadmap was revised and now contains just four phases.

Phase 1 began on 18 May 2020, Phase 2 began on 8 June 2020 and Phase 3 began on 29 June 2020. For details of the measures that were in place during these phases please see section 1.4 above.

Phase 4 is due to commence on 10 August 2020– for details of the measures that will be introduced in Phase 4 please click here.



6.2 Return to Work Safely Protocol

The Return to Work Safely Protocol dated 9 May 2020 outlines a mandatory set of Government rules which apply across all industry sectors. In order to maintain a safe working environment upon re-opening, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published checklists for employers that set out additional cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection measures.

To view the guidance in relation to returning to work safely please click here.




6.3 July Job Stimulus

On 23 July 2020, the government announced the July Jobs Stimulus, which is a €7.4billion package of measures designed to stimulate a jobs-led recovery and build economic confidence while continuing to manage the impact of COVID-19. The measures are introduced to cover 4 things:

  1. Supporting businesses

  2. Helping young people get back to work

  3. Supporting communities

  4. Preparing Ireland’s economy for the future (including investments in life sciences, green enterprise fund, training and skills development etc).

For full details of the measures that come under this stimulus, please click here.