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Harris says tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians can work in your home despite new restrictions

From tonight until 10 November, a nationwide restriction on household visitors will be imposed.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris
Image: Julien Behal Photography

TRADESPEOPLE SUCH AS plumbers and electricians can still visit a person’s home to work, despite the new restrictions advising no visitors are allowed in another household.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris clarified the position in this regard on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne this morning, and said people still need to take precautions if there are workers in their home. 

He said: “I really want to put this to bed because I’m getting a lot of questions on that too. So if you’re a plumber or an electrician or builder or a painter, you’re going to work.

“And if you’re doing the job and someone says you’re going to work in their home -  yes, you’re allowed. And that was allowed in the past.”

From tonight until 10 November, a nationwide restriction on household visitors will be imposed as part of the government’s latest attempts to address the worsening situation with Covid-19.

People are advised not to visit other households indoors or in their gardens; exemptions will be made on compassionate grounds and essential reasons like caring or childcare.

Harris said this morning that although tradespeople are allowed come into the home to work during this period, people should still take proper precautions.

“So ventilation, try leaving the windows or doors open, wear facemasks,” he said. “We also like to have a cup of tea or a biscuit and a chat… but that might not be the brightest thing to do right now.”

The former health minister said that he was aware that people were exhausted and fed up with restrictions but said we now have a “very, small window” to try to “stop going back to the very, very restrictive situation we saw in March and April”. 

He urged employers to show leadership and allow people to work from home where possible. He also described the new restrictions on household visits as a possible “game changer” in reversing the worrying trends being witnessed from the virus. 

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Harris said: “What we are trying to do here is make sure that people can have a Christmas and make sure that we can try and get together in some capacity, in some way, with friends and family over Christmas. That’s what we’re trying to do. To do what we did in the first wave, to get on top of it, suppress it and get the numbers back down.

“We genuinely believe if people take on board the advice now that we’re asking, particularly in relation to household visits and the working from home, we believe there is a potential for that to be a game changer.”

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Sean Murray

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