The Government's medium-term strategy Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19, sets out Ireland's approach to managing and living with COVID-19 in a range of areas over the next 6 - 9 months.
The Plan sets out five levels of response, each with a number of measures designed to help us all lower COVID-19 transmission and setting out what is permitted at that moment in time. It aims to allow society and businesses to be able to operate as normally as possible, while continuing to suppress the virus. Each level outlines what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services.
The Plan reflects a careful consideration of the impact of the introduction of restrictions on employment and livelihoods, keeping as many businesses open as possible at different stages, while acknowledging that some businesses and services are critical.
The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (No.8) Regulations 2020, which give effect to the level 5 restrictions under the Plan, provide the list of essential retail and essential services which may operate under level 5 restrictions.
The list of essential services that can remain open during Level 5 includes therapy services provided by a member of a designated profession within the meaning of section 3 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (No. 27 of 2005). There are seventeen professions designated under the 2005 Act, which are encompassed in the list of essential services. These are: Dietitians, Dispensing Opticians, Medical Scientists, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Physiotherapists (which includes Physical Therapists), Radiographers, Radiation Therapists, Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists, Clinical Biochemists, Counsellors, Orthoptists, Podiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Social Care Workers.
Information on the public health measures in currently in place in relation to the different levels, including essential retail and essential services, can be found at www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/resilience-recovery-2020-2021-plan-for-living-with-covid-19/.
Current regulations and other Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here: www.gov.ie/en/collection/1f150-view-statutory-instruments-related-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/.