Ireland's re-opening: What is happening and when

Ireland is re-opening on a phased basis beginning on May 10th and into early June. Here are some ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.12 29 Apr 2021

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Ireland's re-opening: What is...

Ireland's re-opening: What is happening and when

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.12 29 Apr 2021

Share this article

Ireland is re-opening on a phased basis beginning on May 10th and into early June.

Here are some key dates to keep in mind.



Intercounty travel will return from May 10th - the same day hairdressers, barbers and 'click and collect' retail will re-open.

Religious services will also return that day, along with a further easing of restrictions around outdoor meetings.

From May 10th, three households will be allowed to meet up in a back garden - or a maximum of six people from more than three households.

Fully vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet one household of non-vaccinated people indoors.

This in effect means people will be able to travel anywhere in the country and meet parents or grandparents from May 10th.

Religious services will see their attendances capped at 50 - or more in bigger churches, where the space allows.

Attendance at funerals and weddings will also rise to 50, but the afters of a wedding will remain restricted to six people until June.

Personal services like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians return on May 10th but by appointment only.

While public transport capacity will increase to 50%, and outdoor sports training for adults can also resume.

Driving tests and house viewings will also be permitted in May.

From May 4th

  • All remaining construction can recommence

From May 10th

  • An increase in the numbers that can meet outdoors for social/recreational purposes, including in private gardens - maximum of three households or six people
  • Organised outdoor gatherings with a maximum attendance of 15 people
  • Outdoor training for adults in pods of a maximum of 15 people
  • Phased reopening of non-essential retail. 'Click and collect', in store by appointment only and outdoor retail. All remaining retail to re-open from May 17th
  • Re-opening of personal services by appointment
  • Re-opening of galleries, museums, other cultural attractions and libraries (lending services only)
  • Recommencement of in-person religious services. No communions or confirmations should take place
  • Funerals: 50 mourners permitted at a service. Related events, either before or after, should not take place
  • Weddings:
    Services - 50 guests permitted at service (civil or religious)
    Celebration/reception - six for indoor gatherings/15 for outdoor gatherings
  • Intercounty travel can resume
  • Increase in numbers on public transport, up to 50% of normal capacity

From May 10th: indoor private home visiting is permitted (without masks or social distancing) in the following cases:

  • Fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with other fully vaccinated people - as long as there are no more than three households present
  • Fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household - provided that they are not at risk of severe illness, and no more than three households are present


All retail will be allowed re-open from May 17th, followed by hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses on June 2nd.

Outdoor dining in pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to return from June 7th, with the previous requirement for a 'substantial meal' scrapped.

Gyms will re-open - but only for individual training - on June 7th, while outdoor sports matches will also resume but without spectators.

However the re-opening comes with a warning that it will all depend on how well things go in May.

From June 2nd:

  • Accommodation services - including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering and hostels can re-open.
  • Services including leisure facilities, indoor restaurant and bar services must be restricted to overnight guests/residents only

From June 7th:

  • Outdoor sports matches can recommence (with no spectators)
  • Gyms, swimming pools, leisure centres can re-open for individual training only
  • Outdoor services in restaurants and bars can recommence, with groups limited to a maximum of six people
  • The numbers of guests attending a wedding celebration/reception can increase to 25
  • Visiting indoors in private homes: visitors from one other household is permitted

The Government says a number of "higher-risk activities" will be considered at the end of June for later in the year - including indoor hospitality, indoor team/group sports, mass gatherings/events and international travel.


The Irish Hairdressers Federation says it "greatly welcomes" the news.

"Hairdressing is extremely important to local communities and local economies, and many of our customers have been suffering badly since December. We are all looking forward to welcoming them back on May 10th.

"Our focus now is on re-opening the sector safely and responsibly, working with expert advisers and engaging with Government.

"We have extensive health and safety guidelines in place, and we will be working with staff to ensure they are ready for re-opening.

"We have a huge amount of work to do in getting ready for re-opening and it needs to be done safely and responsibly."

Furniture retailer IKEA has also welcomed the announcement, and confirmed from May 10th it will resume 'click and collect' service to customers.

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) President Elaina Fitzgerald  says the news is a much-needed confidence builder for guests and businesses alike.

"Guests can now book a well-deserved break or holiday, knowing they will get to enjoy it, while the hotel and guesthouse community can plan properly for a sustainable reopening for their businesses and employees," she says.

"With the significant progress of the vaccination roll-out across the country, the IHF is calling on the Government to adopt the proposed EU Covid-19 Travel Certificate as well as developing plans to facilitate other vaccinated international travellers particularly from North America", she adds.

While the restaurant sector says its reaction is one of 'disbelief, confusion and frustration'.

Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Adrian Cummins says: "We are calling on the Government to publish the medical and scientific evidence deeming a hotel or guesthouse restaurant safer than an independent restaurant, coffee shop or gastro pub.

"Restaurants, hotels, cafes and gastropubs have all followed and implemented the exact same safety protocols for diners since June of last year.

"I want to be clear, if the medical advisors have decided it is now safe for indoor dining then hotels should re-open: what we are asking for is indoor dining equality and to re-open at the same time".

Main image: People wearing face masks as they passes by a Ted Baker shop in Dublin getting ready to re-open in November 2020. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/

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