New Covid-19 restrictions: What farmers should know

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a raft of new measures in addition to the current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions that are currently in effect across the country in an effort to halt the spread of the third wave of the coronavirus that has hit Ireland in recent weeks.

The measures will be in place until at least the end of the month, the Taoiseach said in a government briefing following a cabinet meeting earlier today (Wednesday, January 6).

Under these measures, “all construction, with a number of exemptions, must cease until at least January 31”, Martin said, with most workers expected to finish up at 6:00pm on Friday.

From a farming perspective it is important to note that agricultural building projects which are underway but are yet to be finished may be completed – but all projects yet to be begun must now wait until next month at the earliest to proceed.

Livestock marts are once again to operate under Level 5 protocols of online sales only.

People will be required to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, and will be permitted to take exercise within 5km of home. However, one can travel outside these 5km for farming purposes, defined as “food production or care of animals”.

“Essential retailers” will be permitted only. These once again include outlets selling essential items for the health and welfare of animals (including animal feed and veterinary medicinal products, pet food, animal bedding and animal supplies), whether on a retail or wholesale basis.

Also included in this “essential” category are “hardware outlets, builders’ merchants and outlets that provide, whether on a retail or wholesale basis: hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance or construction and development; sanitation and farm equipment; or supplies and tools essential for farming or agriculture purposes”.

Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets will no longer be permitted after existing orders are fulfilled. Click and deliver will continue, according to the government.