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If you are aged 50 to 69 you can now register to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Restrictions are still in place to protect us from COVID-19.
Read about the current government restrictions on

COVID-19 is spread through droplets that come from the nose or mouth of someone who has the virus.

To infect you, the virus has to get from an infected person's nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth.

This can happen through close contact or through airborne spread. For example, if someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes near you, or is talking loud, singing or shouting.

It can also happen if you touch something they have been in contact with, such as an object or a surface, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

It is important that you:

Follow the advice on this page as strictly as possible and encourage others to do this too.

People at higher risk from COVID-19

COVID-19 can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people, the risk is higher. People at higher risk from COVID-19 should take extra care to protect themselves.

Read advice for people at very high risk of COVID-19

Wash your hands

Washing your hands properly and often will help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Use soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser to clean your hands:

  • after coughing or sneezing
  • if you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
  • before and after being on public transport, if you must use it
  • before and after being in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
  • when you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else's home
  • before having a cigarette or vaping
  • even if your hands are not visibly dirty
  • after toilet use

Keep your hands in good condition. Moisturise them often. Any basic product that is not perfumed or coloured is OK.

Read about how to wash your hands properly

Sneezing and coughs

When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve. Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Sharing things

Do not share objects that touch your mouth, for example, bottles or cups. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Social distancing

Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It does this by minimising contact between people.

You should:

  • keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people
  • avoid communal sleeping areas
  • avoid any crowded places
  • not shake hands or make close contact with other people, if possible

There is very little risk if you are just passing someone. But try to keep a distance of 2 metres as much as possible.

When you cannot keep 2 metres apart

Try to avoid places where you cannot keep 2 metres apart from other people. If you are in a public place where it is difficult to keep 2 metres away from others, wear a face covering.

Face coverings

Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other indoor settings. This is the law. You may be fined or refused entry if you do not wear one.

You should also wear a face covering in crowded workplaces, places of worship and in busy outdoor spaces where a lot of people gather.

Read more about face coverings, medical masks and disposable gloves

Open windows and ventilation can lower risk

The virus spreads easiest indoors, especially in places where there is poor ventilation. If there is no fresh air to move the virus away, it will stay in the air or land on surfaces.

The virus is like smoke, in this way - if a window or door is not open, the virus cannot leave a room. The longer you spend in that room, the more chance you might inhale the virus, if it is in the air.

Meeting other people

No visitors are allowed inside your home except for:

  • essential family reasons
  • people in your support bubble

There is different advice for people who are fully vaccinated.

If you have to meet with someone indoors, you should both wear a face covering.

In your garden, you can meet:

  • up to 3 households, or
  • 6 people from multiple households

This limit of 6 people does not include children aged 12 or younger.

Fully vaccinated people

If you are fully vaccinated you can meet indoors with:

  • other fully vaccinated people as long as there are no more than 3 households present
  • unvaccinated people from 1 household as long as they are not at high risk from COVID-19 of severe illness and no more than 3 households are present

Support bubbles

People who are living alone or parenting alone can pair with one other household for support. This is called a 'support bubble'.

You can visit the home of those in your support bubble and they can visit your home. You can also meet outdoors and in places other than the home.

Read more about support bubbles on

If you can have visitors to your home

If you have visitors to your home, ask them to clean their hands when they arrive. After they leave, clean surfaces they have been in contact with. Use your usual household cleaning agents and detergents.

Do not wear disposable gloves instead of washing your hands. The virus gets on them in the same way it gets on your hands. Also, your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.

Wear a face covering when visiting people aged 70 or over, or other people at higher risk from COVID-19.

When not to meet other people

You should not meet someone else if you:

Check with people before you meet them to make sure they are symptom-free and feeling well.

Read advice for people at very high risk from COVID-19


You can travel within your county or within 20km of your home if crossing county boundaries.

Avoid using public transport. Walk or cycle instead of using public transport, if you can.

Read the current restrictions for using public transport and domestic travel

Avoid sharing vehicles with people outside your household. Wear a face covering if you do.


Work from home is still the advice for most people.

Face coverings should be worn in crowded workplaces.

Read more about the current restrictions for work on

Social distancing at work

Follow social distancing advice everywhere outside the home. This includes your workplace.

Get advice

Contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) by emailing or phoning 1890 289 389 if you are:

  • worried about how your workplace is responding to social distancing or other measures
  • an employer and want advice on COVID-19 prevention measures in the workplace

If you are going back to your workplace, read information about returning to work safely.

Use the COVID Tracker app

COVID Tracker is a free and easy-to-use mobile phone app that can:

  • alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
  • alert other app users that you were in close contact with if you test positive for COVID-19

The app is part of our contact tracing operation. Contact tracing is vital to slowing the spread of the virus. The more people that download and use the app, the more it will help contact tracing.

Why you should use the COVID Tracker app

Download the free app from the App Store for iPhone or the Google Play Store for Android.

Related topics

How COVID-19 is spread

Shopping safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Travel advice from the Government

Last updated: 10 May 2021 at 4.55pm

Join the Fight Against Coronavirus.

Download the CovidTracker app
COVID Tracker app on phone