Covid-19: €500 fines for attempted holidaymakers from Monday

ireland
Covid-19: €500 Fines For Attempted Holidaymakers From Monday Covid-19: €500 Fines For Attempted Holidaymakers From Monday
Work is continuing on the implementation of a raft of other travel restrictions. Photo: PA Images.
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People found attempting to take a holiday abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic will face €500 fines from Monday, under regulations signed Friday night.

The Irish Times reports that work is continuing on the implementation of a raft of other travel restrictions announced by Government, including drawing up a legal basis for mandatory quarantines.

Last night, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed the first of the new regulations to implement the travel measures — increasing the €100 fine for breaches of the five-kilometre limit on non-essential domestic travel.

An increased penalty of €500 will now apply to those caught travelling to a port or airport to leave the State without a reasonable excuse from Monday, February 1st.

“Work on other regulations around mandatory quarantine and the operation of same is continuing and should be completed in the coming days,” a spokesman for Mr Donnelly said.

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The Government is exploring ways to impose fines on people travelling more than five kilometres across the Border from Northern Ireland without a valid reason, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said on Thursday.

However, the Minister said this was “not straightforward”.

Mandatory quarantine

On Tuesday, the Government announced a number of new measures designed to discourage non-essential travel into the Republic during the pandemic.

These include a mandatory quarantine in a designated facility for international travellers who arrive into Ireland without a negative PCR test, and for those arriving from Brazil and South Africa amid the spread of new variants.

In all other cases, passengers will be newly required by law to quarantine at home for 14 days, with legislative work to implement this underway.

Visa-free short term travel from South America and South Africa is also suspended until at least March 5th.

There will be an increased Garda presence at checkpoints near ports and airports to question people as to whether their trips are essential, and officers will be able to hand out the increased fines.

The operational arrangements necessary to implement the mandatory quarantine regime... will be implemented as quickly as possible

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A Government spokesman said some measures, such as increased Garda checks and the suspension of visa-free travel from certain countries, had already been implemented.

“Regulations relating to several matters have been finalised and will come into force on Monday, February 1st, including extension of the requirement for a pre-departure test until March 5th,” he said.

The spokesman said legislative measures were “being finalised urgently as are the operational arrangements necessary to implement the mandatory quarantine regime, which will be implemented as quickly as possible.”

Applying mandatory quarantine measures to EU or UK citizens requires changes to primary legislation, the Government has said.

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