IN A Government press conference today, Tuesday, March 24, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced further measures would be taken to slow down the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The measures introduced will take place from midnight tonight will see the closure of “non-essential” retail services which include but not be limited to bookmakers, casinos, and theatres. Cafés and food services can remain open, but operate on a ‘take away’ basis.
The list of services which fall under the non-essential services will be made available by Government.
There will be an increased presence of Gardaí in public parks to observe and enforce physical-distancing guidelines by the HSE. Gathering in groups of larger than 4 will be prohibited unless from the same household.
The pandemic unemployment payment will be increased from €203 to €350, as will the COVID related illness benefit. Self-employed people impacted will also be included in the unemployment payment scheme.
In a bid to support businesses and maintain employment within companies, it was announced that Government will subsidise 70 per cent of salaries up to a cap of €410 per week tax-free payment.
Schools, universities and childcare facilities are set to remain closed until April 19, having originally supposed to reopen on March 29.
It was announced that all private hospitals will operate on a not-for-profit basis to increase bed-availability, and staffing in the public health service. Minister for Health, Simon Harris noted all COVID-19 treatment would be free of charge and all people will be given the same level of care.