The Irish Coast Guard and RNLI are asking the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea or inland waters, while the current Covid-19 restrictions are in place.

Both organisations are highlighting the importance of minimising the risk to Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer crews, helicopter crews and other front line emergency services, through being unintentionally exposed to the coronavirus.

Given the current outbreak, both organisations are urging everyone to follow Government instructions, which are to stay home, protect frontline services and save lives.

Head of Water Safety at the RNLI Gareth Morrison said: "Under normal circumstances, many people would be heading to the coast this weekend to enjoy the Easter bank holiday. 

"We know people who live near the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services."

Both organisations have confirmed that their search and rescue services are fully operational.

Mr Morrison added: "While you are allowed out for daily exercise, we do not recommend that this exercise is on or in the sea and all travel restrictions must be observed. 

"SAR services including RNLI lifeboat service, Coast Guard Helicopter services and Coast Guard units are still available. 

"However, every callout has the potential to put additional pressure on SAR services and other front-line emergency services as well as potentially exposing them to Covid-19."

Arrangements are in place for Coast Guard services including helicopters and volunteer coast guard units to assist the HSE, gardaí and local authorities in provision of community support and other logistical support.

Gerard O'Flynn from the Coast Guard implored the public to stay at home.

Mr O'Flynn said: "Please stay home to stay safe. We need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us to support the national action plan".

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture has issued an appeal to the public "to be conscious of the dangers posed by fire on open ground".

An orange alert has been in place since Wednesday 8 April and is valid until Tuesday 14 April. 

The department said: "Wildfires are not a natural phenomenon in Ireland. The main source of such fires is thought to be the deliberate starting of fires without concern for the consequences."

It added: "It is against the law to burn vegetation at this time of year and anybody found responsible for such burning is liable to prosecution under the Wildlife Acts.

It said: "planned or controlled" burning can "get out of hand quickly".

The department said this is why "it is critically important that every member of society realises the damage that can be caused to property, our precious natural heritage and, indeed, the health and welfare of family, neighbours and the wider community, and the responding emergency services".