A raft of new preventative measures has been introduced by the government in a COVID-19 press briefing.

The briefing commenced at 4pm this afternoon.

Varadkar says he doesn’t want to use the term ‘lockdown’.

The government will commit to a €4 billion package for businesses over the next few weeks.

The COVID emergency payment is to be increased to €350 a week – as will illness benefit with the chance for companies to top that up further.

All theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to close.

Hotels to limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons.

All playgrounds and holiday caravan parks are to close. All places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate social distancing.

Contactless card transactions encouraged.

All cafes and restaurants to be takeaway only.

Cruise ships banned from docking on Irish shores.

No travel within or outside Ireland should happen unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Leo Varadker has asked people to stay at home if at all possible. “People should only leave home for essential work, exercise, shopping and caring for those who need it most”, he said. “I’m asking you to stay at home if at all possible”.

He added: “You should only leave home to go to work if your work is essential and can’t be done remotely”.

No outdoor gatherings of more than four people. Gardaí and park rangers tasked with ensuring people adhere to social distancing.

Groups of four or more people are not to gather unless they are from the same household.

Varadker wants to avoid authoritarian actions: “This is a country build on consent, not draconian measures”.

The Taoiseach noted construction sites and factories do not have to be shut but physical distancing can be employed.

Private hospitals to work as public hospitals for the duration of the emergency, this will add 2,000 beds.

Finally, an emergency bill on Thursday will allow former members of the Defence Forces to be re-recruited at the rank they left at.


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