Ireland’s lockdown began on March 12 with the announcement that schools would be temporarily closed. This triggered a certain panic reaction, mainly in the form of a run on toilet paper in the supermarket. While the situation quickly calmed down, the restrictions were gradually stepped up so that by the end of March the local population were confined to their homes, only allowed to go outside in exceptional circumstances, i.e. for walks within a 2 km-radius or for visits to the doctor and supermarkets.
This of course was devastating for the economy and social life: here in Ireland people love to go to the pub to meet friends and colleagues or just to see who’s there (there are no strangers in Ireland, just friends you haven’t met yet!) That’s why the measures have been so keenly felt by the locals.
Some of the restrictions were very tough. Day-care centers were closed, for example, presenting parents with nearly insurmountable problems, especially those who work in the health sector.
But in the meantime, the number of cases has fallen and the daily capacity for testing greatly increased, allowing a gradual re-opening of the economy and the return of social activities. The shops and malls are now open, restaurants and hairdressers will reopen at the end of June, and the pubs will finally welcome guests in July.
Personally, my daily life has changed a bit. I now always work from home, which actually functions pretty well thanks to modern technology. On March 12 I was out of the country in Sweden/Finland on a college trip – but I flew home somewhat earlier than planned. There were a few cases of coronavirus in my travel group, and that certainly makes the whole thing more tangible than feels comfortable.
Home office will certainly persist in Ireland for some time, as the government guidelines specify quite strict distancing regulations regarding the workplace. So far I’m happy with the situation, and it also allows me to spend more time with my daughter.