The government has tightened coronavirus rules across the country. Level 5 restrictions began on Wednesday 21st of October and will last for at least six weeks.
What are the restrictions?
They’re similar to the rules applied in the Spring lockdown. But this time around, schools, construction sites, and manufacturers can stay open.
Here are some of the new rules:
- People must stay at home unless they’re essential workers. So employees that can work from home should do so over the next six weeks.
- People should not travel more than 5km outside of their home. There are penalties for travel outside of this distance, with exemptions for essential work and essential purposes.
- Bars, cafés, restaurants and wet pubs must only operate takeaway and delivery services. Wet pubs in Dublin will stay closed.
- Only essential retail and essential services can stay open.
- Public transport will operate at 25% capacity.
So, what does this mean for employers?
It means a tough six weeks ahead. Especially for those in the hospitality, retail and service industries.
As bars, cafes, restaurants and wet pubs will have to alter their services to takeaway only, and non-essential retailers will have to shut for the full six weeks. While hotels can stay open, they’ll only be able to offer accommodation for essential, non-social and non-tourist purposes.
But there is some good news. The government is increasing payment rates under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment Scheme and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to €350 per week, per employee.
So if your business is forced to close and make short-term layoffs as a result of level 5 restrictions, you could use the financial support under either of these schemes. These schemes could help you to maintain employment relationships with laid off staff for the duration of lockdown.