Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

06.25 29 Apr 2021


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Inter-county travel will return on May 10th as part of a sweeping easing of COVID restrictions.

Hairdressers, barbers and personal services are set to reopen on the same day, with the cap on weddings and funerals rising to 50.

Outdoor dining and beer gardens are not expected to return until June 7th - the same day gyms could be allowed to reopen.

The Cabinet is due to meet this afternoon to sign off on the plans to reopen most of the country for the summer.

The first easing of measures will be next Tuesday when the entire construction sector can return to work.

However, May 10th will be the key day when a raft of COVID restrictions will be lifted including the inter-county travel ban.

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

That day religious services return with attendances capped at 50 - or more in bigger churches where 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 will return on the 10th by appointment only.

Public transport will also increase to 50% capacity, while outdoor sports training for adults can resume.

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

May 10th will also see the return of click and collect retail, with the sector to open fully a week later on the 17th.

Plan for June

The next easing of restrictions will come on June 2nd when hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will be allowed to reopen.

However, pubs and restaurants will have to wait until after the June Bank Holiday weekend to resume outdoor dining only from June 7th.

No distinction will be made between gastropubs and so-called wet pubs - with the much-maligned €9 'substantial meal' being scrapped.

June 7th will also see the return of gyms for individual training only, while outdoor sports matches will resume without spectators.

Speaking after last night's Cabinet sub-committee meeting, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the measures will be in line with what the Government has suggested in recent weeks.

He said: "It's pretty much what we were indicating in terms of what will come in May - maybe one or two that are additional to what was expected.

"Into May and early June, we'll indicate the next phase after that. It's on track, but we've got to be careful here - we want to keep it on track."

A full announcement of the plan is expected later today, after Cabinet meets to sign off on the proposals.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

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