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Coronavirus: updates and resources for our community

This section of our website is dedicated to compiling resources and information of the many different aspects of supporting our members and community through the coronavirus health crisis. It will be updated regularly. Please scroll down for sections on mental health, funding and finance questions and tips for working from home.

Travelling to and from Ireland

  • Travellers arriving in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from Britain must restrict their movements for 2 weeks. Travellers from Britain are advised to avoid all non–essential travel. See DFA guidance here.
  • There is no restriction for travellers from Northern Ireland to Ireland and vice versa. 
  • Travellers from Ireland to Britain do not need to self–isolate on arrival as Ireland is exempt from UK travel restrictions. See guidance here.

How to protect yourself and others

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Maintain social distancing of ‘one metre plus’ in England. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. In Scotland and Wales, you must remain 2 metres apart unless in some premises. 
  • A face–covering, like a mask, is mandatory on public transport in England and Scotland. Children under 5 are exempt in Scotland. Children under 11 and people with certain health conditions are exempt in England. Face masks are compulsory in shops in Scotland and England.
  • Work from home if you can.

Restrictions on social gatherings

  • In England and Wales you can only meet people in groups of up to 6 people – this applies to outdoors and indoors. There is no limit on households meeting in England, so the 6 people can be from 6 different households. There is a fine if people fail to follow the rules. Children are included in the rule of 6.
  • There is a 3 tier lockdown system in England. Full details of each tier can be found here. Roughly the 3 tiers are:
    Tier 1 (medium): follow rule of 6; pubs and restaurants shut at 10pm
    Tier 2 (high): above + no mixing with other households indoors
    Tier 3 (very high): do not travel in or out of area; no household mixing in hospitality venues or private gardens; pubs and bars not serving meals closed.
    Use the postcode checker to find out restriction levels in your area.
  • In Scotland, up to 6 people from two households can meet outdoors, but there is a ban on meeting other households indoors, unless part of an extended household. Children under 12 are exempt from this. 
  • In Wales, you cannot meet indoors with people from outside your household or extended household. Meetings indoors must be limited to 6 people even within your extended household. Up to 30 people from any household can meet outside but must maintain social distancing with those outside their household. Children under 11 are exempt.
  • In England, there are some exemptions from the ‘rule of 6’, including work, or voluntary and charitable services (see below), as well as weddings (up to 15 people) and funerals. This is also an exemption for where everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents.

Providing charity services and holding events

The new restrictions in England limit social gatherings indoors and outdoors to no more than 6 people. However, there are a number of exemptions, including for work, and voluntary or charitable services, as well as support groups of up to 15. Charitable services in a community facility (such as a centre or community halls) following COVID–19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is essential that all parties maintain social distancing at all times with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission between households. A risk assessment should determine the maximum capacity of a hall or hire space while able to maintain social distancing according to the relevant guidelines. 

Charitable services, work and voluntary services can still function, as long as social distancing rules are followed, in a tier 3 (very high) area

You should also check with local councils for regional lockdowns, which may restrict gatherings further. 

See more on this page for guidance for the safe use of multi–purpose community facilities.  

Vulnerable groups

From 6 July in England, those shielding have be able to meet up outdoors with up to five others, form ‘support bubbles’ with other households and do not need to practice social distancing with those in their household.

Shielding was paused on 1 August in England and previously shielded people are advised to adopt ‘strict’ social distancing rather than ‘full’ shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.

Those previously shielding can return to work if their workplace is Covid–19 safe. 


Anyone who has the symptoms of coronavirus (Covid–19) can ask for a free test to check if they have the virus. This is called an antigen test. There is another test to check if you have already had the virus – an antibody test – but this is not yet widely available.

Read more about how to get a test on the NHS website

Advice on avoiding contact with the coronavirus infection (COVID–19)


  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • Work from home if you can
  • only travel on public transport if you absolutely have to, such as going to work, providing care or help for a vulnerable person, or for medical reasons
  • shop online if you can
  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
  • Maintain social distance whenever possible of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. 


  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • meet outdoors with more than 6 people 

There are two main routes by which people can spread the virus:

  • Infection can be spread to people who are nearby (within two metres) or inhaled through lungs
  • Coming into contact with a surface or object touched by an infected person through respiratory secretions and then touching mouth, nose or eyes. 

There is currently little evidence that people who are without symptoms are infectious to others. Under most circumstances, the amount of infected virus on any contaminated surface is likely to have decreased significantly by 72 hours.

The following symptoms may develop after exposure to someone who has the coronavirus:

  • A new continuous cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever/high temperature 
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self–isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one instead of day four for those affected by the coronavirus.

You can consult the government advice on decontamination for objects and surfaces that have come into contact with someone showing the symptoms of the virus.


Irish in Britain hosted a webinar in partnership with Crosscare Migrant ProjectSafe Home Ireland and Citizens Information Ireland on issues surrounding returning to Ireland. You can watch the webinar here. Please note that all information was correct at the time (3 June) but in an ever–changing situation you should follow live links to ensure you have the most up to date information. 

You can also download the three PowerPoint presentations from CrosscareSafe Home Ireland and Citizens Information.

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Tips on working from home

In light of Public Health England recommendations on working from home, Irish in Britain has compiled some tips to help make your experience as positive and productive as possible.

Read more