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Legislation for New Covid-19 Restrictions

  • Ireland
  • Construction and engineering
  • Coronavirus


The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No 10) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI No 4 of 2021) (the “New Regulations”) came into effect on Friday, 8 January 2021. Click here to access the New Regulations.

The New Regulations primarily amend the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No 10) Regulations 2020 (SI No 701 of 2020) (the “Principal Regulations”) to provide for temporary restrictions on the operation of (1) essential retail outlets and (2) construction and development. Click here to access the Principal Regulations.

The New Regulations also provide for ‘childcare pairing arrangements’, and amend the Principal Regulations to define certain youth services as a form of emergency/public administration essential service.

Set out below is a brief overview of the temporary restrictions imposed by the New Regulations.

(i) Essential retail outlets

Regulation 6(1) of the New Regulations amends the Principal Regulations to provide that ‘click and collect’ shopping is not permissible for the period of the restrictions. Non-essential retailers may, however, continue to provide an online shopping offering where items are delivered.

(ii) Construction and development

The New Regulations amend the Principal Regulations to provide that for the period of the restrictions, with the exception of specific essential and critical projects, construction sites must close.  

Pursuant to Regulation 12(2) of the Principal Regulations, a specified person may permit or otherwise grant access to a premises in a relevant geographical location to a worker where access to the premises by the worker is necessary for the provision of an essential service.

Essential services are defined in Part 2 of the Schedule to the Principal Regulations. Paragraph 5 of Part 2 of the Schedule deals with construction activities and prior to amendment by the New Regulations, it defined construction or development work and the provision of support services relating to construction and development work as essential services.

Regulation 6(2)(a) of the New Regulations provides for the substitution of Paragraph 5 of Part 2 of the Schedule to the Principal Regulations, with a new definition for construction and development. In line with the amended definition, the following projects are permitted to continue:

essential health and related projects including those relevant to preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of Covid-19;

  • the construction and development of essential educational facilities;
  • certain essential projects relating to the construction and development at Technological University Dublin Campus, Grangegorman;
  • social housing projects, including voids, designated as essential sites by local authorities based on set criteria;
  • housing adaptation grants where the homeowner is agreeable to adaptions being undertaken in their home;
  • essential construction or development funded by the pyrite remediation scheme which is scheduled to be completed by 31 January 2021;
  • the repair, maintenance and construction of critical transport and utility infrastructure;
  • supply and delivery of certain essential or emergency maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence on an emergency call-out basis;
  • private housing projects scheduled to be completed by 31 January 2021;
  • projects necessary for the maintenance of supply chains in respect of specific services; and
  • projects relating to the direct supply of medical products for Covid-19.

The Principal Regulations

The Principal Regulations came into effect on 31 December 2020, and make provision for additional temporary restrictions in relation to a range of indoor and outdoor events, as well as access by the public to certain businesses and services. The Principal Regulations also provide that individuals may not travel outside a radius of 5 kilometres of their home unless for essential work or essential purposes.

The Principal Regulations, as amended, will remain in force until 31 January 2021.

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