Extension of Level 5 Restrictions and Introduction of measures for International TravelJanuary 26, 2021 ADMIN 0
The Government has today agreed that the current public health restrictions will remain in place until 5th March 2021. While we have seen a welcome decrease in the numbers of cases in recent days, the overall numbers and, significantly, the numbers in hospital and ICU with COVID-19 are at their highest since the start of the pandemic. For this reason, we must continue efforts to get the virus under control by limiting congregation, mobility and social contacts as much as possible.
Maintaining Level 5 restrictions will place continued demands on society and business, however, it is essential that we continue to hold firm and reduce the cases in order to protect the vulnerable, protect our health care services (including maintaining non-COVID healthcare) and reopen schools at the earliest opportunity. The Minister for Education will continue to work with stakeholders to agree a plan for a phased return to in-school provision, commencing with children with special educational needs.
Noting that non-essential international travel is a breach to Level 5 rules, the Government has agreed to introduce a number of measures aimed at reducing the risk it poses, including:
- An increase to the fixed penalty for breach of the rules relating to international travel.
- Increased Garda checks and enforcement activity relating to people travelling internationally who are in breach of level 5 rules.
- The existing regulations requiring pre-departure PCR tests will be extended to 5th March.
- A range of mandatory quarantine measures will be introduced, applying to all international arrivals.
- Mandatory quarantine at a designated facility will be required for passengers who arrive in breach of the pre-departure negative PCR requirement.
- Mandatory quarantine at designated facility will be required for persons who arrive from Brazil and South Africa.
- Application of these measures to passengers who are not EU/EEA citizens can be introduced by regulations. For all other passengers, it will be necessary to amend primary legislation. The detailed legislative work to implement this will get under way immediately.
- In other cases, passengers will be required by law to quarantine at home.
- Restriction of travel from South Africa, Brazil and other south American countries, including suspension of visa-free short-term visits, until 5th March.
It is fully recognised that these further restrictions will be very difficult for people. Payments available under both the Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will continue to be maintained. This will ensure continued support for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. In addition, the Government continues to make available a wide range of supports for businesses.
Payments remain available at current levels under both the Enterprise Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). This ensures continued support for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
Under the EWSS, which provides a subsidy to qualifying employers to offset payroll costs, a payment of up to €350 per week will continue to be available. This enhanced payment level will remain in place until the 31st March.
Similarly, the PUP, available to those who have lost their jobs, including the self-employed, as a result of COVID-19, will continue to be made available at the current pay-related level of up to €350 a week until 31st March.
In addition, the Government continues to make available a wide range of supports for businesses.
If YOU or SOMEONE YOU KNOW are struggling and need help check out the local help/support available on our dedicated COVID-19 page.
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