Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for a shutdown of non-essential businesses. 

Ms McDonald also said that now is the time for a "step change" in how we deal with the coronavirus as public policy.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Ms McDonald said the elephant in the room is the fact that tens of thousands of workers who spend their weekend observing physical distancing are returning to businesses where social distancing is not possible. 

She said such a scheme would need a comprehensive income support scheme. 

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has written to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, she said, outlining a scheme that would guarantee gross income up to €32,500 a year. 

She said employers would be able to top up that scheme. 

Ms McDonald also said we also need to make sure families are safe from evictions and rent increases during the time that businesses are closed. 

She said it was intolerable and unacceptable that some workers were still facing risks during this coronavirus emergency.
 
"It is simply not possible, in many cases, to practice social distancing. In other cases there are not even the basic protections you would expect for people to keep their hands clean," she said.

Indeed, she highlighted a building site with 400 workers, which had only one tap for hand washing. 

Ms McDonald added that a further shut down would mean thousands of temporary redundancies. 

She said supermarkets, pharmacies and "blue light services" were essential services which would need remain open, while calling for a proper income support scheme put in place as a matter of urgency for workers who lose jobs. 

She stated that such a scheme is run through businesses to maintain the connection between workers and firms.