Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

How Covid-19 may affect business travel to Ireland

Out-Law Guide | 05 Jun 2020 | 6:02 pm | 2 min. read

New regulations requiring information from travellers to Ireland will potentially impact on business travel to the country in the near term.

Employers in Ireland are gradually preparing for a phased return to the workplace, with social distancing measures in place, under the government's 'roadmap for reopening society and business'. A number of restrictions remain in place that employers should advise any employees of if they are planning to travel to Ireland for business in the coming weeks.

Information requirements on travel to Ireland

New regulations (16-page / 817KB PDF) specify the information that a passenger will need to provide when arriving in Ireland from another country between 28 May and 18 June 2020.

The current position in Ireland is that passengers arriving from overseas via port or airport must provide their travel and contact details, using a passenger locator form, to an officer at their point of entry. The passenger may also be required to confirm where they will be residing for the period up to 14 days from their date of arrival.

The UK has introduced similar passenger locator regulations.

Jason McMenamin

Solicitor

Employers should restrict the use of business travel unless absolutely necessary, and should instead encourage meetings via video link.

Ireland's passenger locator form may be used by health authorities to contact the passenger to verify their location in the country. It will also enable 'contact tracers' to get in touch with the passenger, should someone on their transport to Ireland be confirmed as having Covid-19.

There are a number of exceptions to the requirement to fully complete the passenger locator form which include:

  • passengers arriving from Northern Ireland;
  • passengers arriving in Ireland from overseas and travelling to another country without exiting the port or airport in Ireland;
  • holders of a Certificate for International Transport Workers, or drivers of heavy goods vehicles, who are in Ireland in the course of performing their duties;
  • aircraft crew, including pilots, who are in Ireland in the course of performing their duties;
  • ship crew, including maritime masters, who are in Ireland in the course of performing their duties; and
  • foreign diplomats.

Failure to provide the required details on the passenger locator form or providing inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information may result in a €2,500 fine and imprisonment of up to six months. Data collected on the passenger locator form will be securely stored for 28 days before it is permanently deleted, unless it is required for longer for the purposes of investigating, preventing, detecting or prosecuting a criminal offence.

How will this affect business travel?

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently advising against all non-essential travel overseas, and the regulations also apply to Irish citizens returning home. The Health Service Executive (HSE) and government also expect those arriving in Ireland from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they have any symptoms or if they have tested negative for Covid-19 in another country.

Current government guidance on self-isolation is to stay indoors and completely avoid physical contact with other people. People arriving in Ireland from overseas are also asked to avoid using public transport if possible. The HSE has provided helpful advice on how to self-isolate, and has asked those who cannot self-isolate on arrival to reconsider their need to travel. Individuals who remain in Ireland after the 14 day self-isolation period will then have to adhere to the "stay local" requirements.

Employers should restrict the use of business travel unless absolutely necessary, and should instead encourage meetings via video link. Where employee travel is necessary, employers should provide them with additional advice on how to ensure they are following best practice in respect of hygiene; contract with sick people; and any other advice relevant to their destination.

Written by Jason McMenamin, an employment law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.