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New Measures Announced To Combat Covid-19 And Aid Economy

New Measures Announced To Combat Covid-19 And Aid Economy

The government has today announced new measures both to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and aid the economy.

At a press conference on Tuesday evening, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that these are "unprecedented actions to respond to an unprecedented emergency".

The following measures were announced:

- People should only leave home for work if they cannot work from home and your attendance is essential.
- People should only leave their homes to go to shops for essential supplies; medical or dental appointments;  to care for others; or to take physical exercise.
- Non-essential indoor visits to other people's homes should be avoided.
- Social gatherings outdoors should be of no more than four people unless they are from the same household.
- No unnecessary travel should take place within the country or overseas, now or over the Easter break.
- Closure of schools, universities and childcare facilities extended to April 19th.
- From 12am, March 25, all theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, marts, markets, bingo halls, casinos, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut.
- All hotels must limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons.
- All non-essential retail outlets must close to members of the public and all other outlets must implement physical distancing.
- All cafes and restaurants should limit business to takeaways and delivery only.
- All sporting events are cancelled, including those held behind closed doors.
- All playgrounds and holiday caravan parks will close.
- All places of worship must restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing.
- All organised social indoor or outdoor events of any size are not to take place.

The Gardaí will increase interventions where new restrictions are not being complied with.

The following measures have been introduced to aid the economy:

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- Raising Covid-19 unemployment payment to €350 a week. Self-employed who are affected by the virus are also included in the scheme. First payments will be made on Friday.
- Covid-19 illness benefit for those self-isolating will also increase to €350 per week. That can be topped up by employers.
- A wage subsidy scheme will be introduced to co-fund 70 per cent of the cost of salaries up to a maximum of €38,000 per year.

Cabinet this morning approved the Covid Bill.

For the duration of the emergency, this will:

- Freeze rents.
- Prevent evictions.
- Make it easier for healthcare professionals to reregister and return to work and enable former members of the defence forces to rejoin at the rank at which they left.
- Government has agreed with private hospitals that they will effectively work as public hospitals for the duration of the emergency.

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PJ Browne
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