Restricted Movements & Self-Isolation

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you:

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don’t need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone – stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements

Follow the advice for everybody – stay at home.


Do not go to work.

Do not use public transport.

Do not have visitors at your home.

Do not visit others, even if you usually care for them.

Do not go to the shops or pharmacy unless it’s absolutely necessary – where possible, order your groceries online or have some family or friends drop them off.

Keep away from older people, anyone with long-term medical conditions and pregnant women.

You can still go outside to exercise briefly by yourself, but only within 2 kilometres of your home, keeping 2 metres distance from other people.

If you develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate. Other people you live with will need to restrict their movements.


Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people.

You will need to self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus
  • before you get tested for coronavirus
  • while you wait for test results
  • if you have had a positive test result for coronavirus
  • if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose, cough or wheezing

Most people with coronavirus will only have mild symptoms and will get well within weeks. Even though the symptoms are mild, you can still spread the virus to others.

How to self-isolate

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people. Behave as if you have the virus if you have symptoms. People you live with will need to restrict their movements.


Stay at home, in a room with the window open.

Keep away from others in your home as much as you can.

Check your symptoms – call a doctor if they get worse.

Phone your doctor if you need to – do not visit them.

Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue – clean your hands properly afterwards.

Wash your hands properly and often.

Use your own towel – do not share a towel with others.

Clean your room every day with a household cleaner or disinfectant.


Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.

Do not share your things.

Do not use public transport or taxis.

Do not invite visitors to your home.

Keep away from older people, anyone with long-term medical conditions and pregnant women.

It’s OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food or supplies. Make sure you’re not in the same room as them, when they do.

Stay in touch with your GP or doctor

You may be self-isolating because you have symptoms of coronavirus. If you are, phone your GP if you start to feel very unwell. Particularly if your breathing changes or becomes difficult, or your cough gets worse

If you are getting very short of breath, phone your GP or GP out-of-hours service immediately.

If you develop a fever or any respiratory symptoms phone your GP or HSELive on 1850 24 1850.

When you can stop self-isolating

Only stop self-isolation when both of these apply to you:

  • you have had no fever for 5 days
  • it has been 14 days since you first developed symptoms

Follow this advice to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

If you live with other people and you are self-isolating

Stay in a room with a window you can open.

If you can, use a toilet and bathroom that no one else in the house uses.

If you have to share a bathroom with others, use the bathroom last and then clean it thoroughly.

Do not share any items you’ve used with other people.

Things you should not share include:

  • food
  • dishes
  • drinking glasses
  • cups
  • knives, forks and spoons
  • towels
  • bedding


If possible, have someone leave your food on a tray at your bedroom door.

When you have finished, leave everything on the tray at the door.

This should be collected and put in a dishwasher and hands washed properly afterwards.

If you don’t have a dishwasher:

  • wash in hot soapy water, wearing rubber gloves
  • leave to air dry
  • wash the rubber gloves while you are still wearing them
  • remove gloves and wash your hands

Wash your hands often

Wash your hands properly and often with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.

Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.

How to wash your hands properly

Use a detergent or disinfectant to clean your home

Many cleaning and disinfectant products sold in supermarkets can kill coronavirus on surfaces.

Use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these are very good at getting rid of the virus. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label and check they can be used on the surface you are cleaning.

Clean all surfaces every day as usual with a detergent, disinfectant or disinfectant wipe.

This includes:

  • counters
  • table-tops
  • doorknobs
  • bathroom fixtures
  • toilets and toilet handles
  • phones
  • keyboards
  • tablets
  • bedside tables

If you have rubber gloves, wear them when cleaning surfaces, clothing or bedding. Wash the gloves while still wearing them, then wash your hands after you take them off.

Read advice on good hygiene and hand washing.


Put your dirty laundry in a plastic bag. Have someone collect it from your bedroom door. If possible, they should wear rubber gloves.

They should:

  • hold the laundry away from themselves
  • wash the laundry at the highest temperature for the material, with a laundry detergent
  • clean all surfaces and the area around the washing machine
  • wash the rubber gloves while still wearing them
  • wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing the gloves or handling dirty laundry

If possible tumble dry and iron using a hot setting or steam iron.

Do not take laundry to a launderette.

Managing rubbish

Put all personal waste, including used tissues, masks and all cleaning waste in a plastic rubbish bag. Tie the bag when it is almost full. Place the plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie the bag.

Leave the bag somewhere safe. The bags should be left for 3 days before collection.

Dispose of other waste the way you usually would.

If you have face masks

You may have to be in a room with someone who has coronavirus. If you do, and you have face masks, the person with coronavirus should wear the mask.

If you wear a mask, you should put it on and take it off in the room in which you are self-isolating.

Read about how to use a face mask properly.

Keeping well during self-isolation

Keep yourself mobile by getting up and moving around as much as possible. If you have a garden, backyard or balcony go out and get some fresh air. But keep more than 2 metres away from other people.

Stay hydrated and try to avoid alcohol if you are not feeling well.

Read about smoking and coronavirus.

Stay in touch with people over the phone. Ask a family member, friend or neighbour to check in with you over the phone a few times every day. Let them know how you are feeling.

Self-isolation can be boring or frustrating. It may affect your mood and feelings. You may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping.

Read advice about minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Caring for a child or someone else in self-isolation

You may be caring for a child, family member or someone who needs support while they are in self-isolation. If you are, follow the advice above.

You should also:

  • stay away from them as much as possible (at least 2 metres) and avoid touching them – use your phone to communicate
  • wash your hands properly every time you have contact with the person
  • if you have face masks, wear one and have them on when you have to be in the same room
  • if you have to clean phlegm or spit from their face use a clean tissue, put it into a waste bag and wash your hands
  • put them in a well-ventilated room alone
  • limit their movement in the house
  • get them to use a different toilet if possible
  • limit the number of caregivers
  • keep them away from older people, people with long-term conditions or pregnant women

If possible, only one person should look after the person self-isolating. Ideally, this would be someone who is in good health.

Follow this advice to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

Read advice for children and parents during the coronavirus outbreak

Self-isolation facility

If you cannot self-isolate at home you may need to be admitted to the HSE self-isolation facility in City West.

This is a safe place for people who cannot self-isolate at home.

Read more about self-isolation facilities.