The European Commission in a communication of 20 May set out the broad framework for lifting COVID-19 border restrictions across Europe, i.e. with consideration to the epidemiological context in countries and regions, the ability to apply containment measures for safe travel throughout the whole journey, and other economic and social considerations, initially prioritising cross-border movement in key areas of activity and including for personal reasons.
On Friday 12 June the Government noted the announcement by the European Commission for a European coordinated approach to lifting these border controls and travel restrictions. The current advice of Government continues to be that all non-essential international travel should be avoided, and the matter of international travel will be kept under review.
The mandatory requirement for arriving passengers to Ireland to complete a passenger locator form, linked to the requirement to self-isolate for 14-days, has been extended to 9 July. Any decisions by Government in relation to lifting restrictive measures concerning COVID-19 will be taken on foot of the advice of the public health authorities in light of the evolving epidemiological situation in Ireland, Europe and beyond.
There are no flight restrictions in place in Ireland, as required to ensure essential connectivity, for example, for vital cargo supply chains. All Irish airlines and airports are aware of the advice of our public health authorities and the European Guidance for safe passenger air travel, for when passenger aviation services resume. In that regard, my Department is engaging with industry stakeholders and the public health authorities in the development of protocols for safe international travel by air (and sea) in line with the European best practice guidance. These protocols are at an advanced stage.
I have established an Aviation Recovery Task Force, charged with advising on a framework for promoting the return of aviation connectivity and aviation enterprises that are critical to supporting the wider economic recovery. The focus is therefore on the immediate action required and further measures with a five year outlook. The Task Force will prepare an Aviation Recovery Action Plan setting out recommendations for consideration by Government as appropriate. The Action Plan should be concluded and submitted by 10 July.