The Covid fines that gardai can still issue until restrictions ease on October 22

By Marita Moloney

Ireland will edge closer to the resumption of normal life within weeks when the majority of all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

October 22 marks the day when nearly all lockdown rules are eased under the government's roadmap for reopening.

The major changes will see limits on gatherings, rules for pubs and nightclubs and other outdoor events all relaxed.

The public will still be required to wear masks in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport.

In response to the pandemic, the government introduced a number of public health measures which included regulations.

Gardai were given extra powers, including to make an arrest without a warrant, if people were found to be breaking these Covid rules.

Passengers on the Luas at St Stephen's Green, Dublin wearing protective masks (Colin Keegan/Collins)

On March 20 last year, the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 was signed into law.

This was extended until at least November 9 this year by the Health and Criminal Justice (Covid-19) (Amendment) Act 2021.

This law gives the Minister for Health the power to make regulations to introduce measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

As these rules are still in place until November 9, it means that until restrictions are eased on October 22, people can still face big fines or even prison time for breaking the laws.

Offences are punishable by a fine of up to €5,000, up to six months imprisonment, or a combination of both.

For certain offences, you can be fined a fixed amount and a garda can give you a fixed penalty notice. If you do not pay it within 28 days, you can be prosecuted in court.

If you do not pay your fine within 28 days, you will be summonsed to court where you may get a fine of up to €1,000, up to one months' imprisonment, or both a fine and imprisonment.

Here are the offences you could still be fined for until at least October 22, and the how much it will cost you:

  • Not wearing a face covering on public transport, without a reasonable excuse - €80
  • Not wearing a face covering in a retail outlet, or other specified premises, without a reasonable excuse - €80
  • Not wearing a face covering in taxis and in bus and rail stations, without a reasonable excuse - €80
People wearing face masks on the Luas in Dublin. (Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos)

Until October 22, by law, you must also wear masks in shops and other indoor settings such as:

  • Shops, including pharmacies
  • Shopping centres
  • Libraries
  • Cinemas and cinema complexes
  • Theatres
  • Concert halls
  • Bingo halls
  • Museums
  • Nail salons, hair salons and barbers
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Travel agents and tour operators
  • Laundries and dry cleaners
  • Bookmakers
  • Banks, credit unions and post offices
  • Airports and ports

Wearing a visor does not satisfy the legal requirement to wear a face covering as it does not cover your nose and mouth, Citizens Advice warns.


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