Ireland’s Reaction to COVID-19Christopher Masi
On March 24 2020, the Government updated public health guidelines on COVID-19 that provide for the closure of all non-essential businesses, and that state that individuals should stay at home except to go to work, care for others, and essential shopping (See: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a7e66d-latest-guidance-on-public-health-measures/).
Currently, there are public health measures in place in Ireland to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until April 12 2020. These measures require everyone in Ireland to stay at home, except for certain exceptions that have been provided, which included going to and from work where the work is considered an essential service.
The Health and Safety Authority has published answers for employers and employees to frequently asked questions concerning working from home temporarily during the outbreak of COVID-19 (See: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/faq%E2%80%99s_for_employers_and_employees_in_relation_to_home-working_on_a_temporary_basis_covid-19_.html). Based on this information, employers should consider making working from home a priority for employees, but if this is no possible, measures should be taken to prevent the risk of exposure of employees to COVID-19 in the workplace.
Additionally, the Health and Safety Authority has also published advice and guidance for employers concerning the health risk for employees during the outbreak of COVID-19 (See: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/covid_19_%E2%80%93_advice_for_employers.html). Employers should consider conducting a risk assessment in the workplace to assess the risk of expsosure to COVID-19, and to implement the necessary control measures to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus.
Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
-Government of Ireland (https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/)
-Health and Safety Authority (https://www.hsa.ie/eng/)
-Department of Health (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/472f64-covid-19-coronavirus-guidance-and-advice/)
-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/guidancefornon-clinicalsettings/)