Workers are being asked not become complacent by returning to workplaces before it is safe to do so.
The government has recorded the first reduction in the number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment since the Level 5 restrictions were introduced in late December.
Some 16,355 people in Donegal will receive the PUP tomorrow, while 351 people have closed their claims this week.
There has been an increase in the number of Donegal people on Enhanced Illness Benefit. The figure is now 4,054, up from 3,973 on last week.
Nationally, the number of people receiving a PUP payment has decreased by 3,666 compared to last week. The Department of Social Protection has issued weekly payments valued at €143.34 million to 477,665 people this week.
All sectors with the exception of Electrical/Gas/Water supply sector have fewer people receiving PUP this week than last week. The sector with the highest number of people out of work is Accommodation and Food Service activities (111,280), followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (75,927) and Construction (62,197).
The top three sectors with the largest number of employees closing their Pandemic Unemployment Payment to return to work are Construction (2,167), Wholesale and Retail Trade (1,785), and Manufacturing (1,308).
Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys welcomed this week’s figures but warned that workers should not return unless it is essential.
“I cannot stress strongly enough that people should only be returning to work outside of their own home where it is absolutely essential,” Minister Humphreys said.
“We cannot become complacent; we must not let our guard down now. We are making these sacrifices for ourselves, our families, our colleagues and our frontline workers.
“The best way we can effectively suppress the virus is to continue to adhere to the public health guidelines and take all necessary precautions.”
Minister Humphreys also reminded people that financial assistance is available from her Department during these difficult times: “There are financial supports, which are means assessed, available to people should they need to access them during these difficult times.
“They include assistance with heating costs and rent supplement. Where an individual or a family has a particular financial need they may qualify for a financial support, depending on their household circumstances.”
The details of these supports are available under the Department’s Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme and can be viewed on the Department’s website www.gov.ie/dsp or by contacting its Information Help Line 1890 800 024 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.