Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.48 2 May 2020


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Coronavirus measures are being extended but some restrictions are easing from next week to allow people to travel further for exercise.

And also from next Tuesday, those over-70 can leave their homes for a walk or drive.

The easing of restrictions will happen in five phases, three weeks apart, beginning on May 18th.

The fifth stage is set to begin on August 10th, if everything goes to plan.

Phase 1 (May 18th)

  • Allow outdoor meetings between people from different households
  • Open up childcare for healthcare workers
  • Phased return of outdoor workers
  • Open retailers which are primarily outdoor or those which were open during first level of restriction (e.g. opticians)
  • Opening of certain outdoor public amenities

Phase 2 (June 8th)

  • Allow visits to households
  • Develop plans and supports to open up business with consideration for safety of staff and customers
  • Open small retail outlets and marts where social distancing can be observed
  • Open public libraries

Phase 3 (June 29th)

  • Allow small social gatherings
  • Opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers in phased manner
  • Return to work for those with low levels of interaction
  • Open non-essential retail outlets with street level entrance and exit
  • Open playgrounds

Phase 4 (July 20th)

  • Opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of all other workers on a gradually increasing basis
  • Return to work for those who cannot work from home
  • Gradual easing of restrictions for higher risk services (e.g. Hairdressers)
  • Opening of museums, galleries, places of worship

Phase 5 (August 10th)

  • Allow larger social gatherings
  • Return to work across all sectors
  • On a phased basis, commencing at the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021, opening of primary and secondary schools and 3rd level institutions
  • Further easing of restrictions on high risk retail services

Speaking on Friday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the country can only move from one phase into the next if coronavirus remains under control - if not, they will have to move back a phase.

And he added that in spite of restrictions being eased, there will be a long-term need for physical distancing until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.

He said: "Unfortunately the risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present.

"So we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase.

"And there is a risk that we’d have to go back a phase if that happens.

"In any scenario, at least until we have a vaccine or effective treatment, there will be a long-term need for physical distancing, good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning and for people to stay at home and isolate if they are sick.

"It will take some time for our lives to get back to normal.  To a new normal.  But it will happen."

"So, on the 18th of May, Ireland begins to re-open and begins that journey to a new normal."

In the first phase, some shops will re-open and some sports will re-start.

People will also be allowed to meet in small groups - while schools and colleges will re-open in September for the new academic year.

Finishing his address, Mr Varadkar said: "We all know someone who is suffering because of these restrictions, just as we all know someone who is on the frontline or performing an essential service.

"The best way of helping them is by staying the course, and continuing this fight.

"So, tonight I am thinking of parents juggling work and home-schooling.

"The young people deprived of the companionship of their friends and of their opportunity to take part in sport.

"The couples who have had to cancel their weddings. The grandparents who crave the opportunity to hold their newly-born grandchild.

"We all have our own stories and each one combines to form a tapestry of struggle, and sacrifice, and sorrow.

"It has been worthwhile, it is working. So let’s finish what we started."

Full details of the roadmap can be found here

It comes as 34 more people who were diagnosed with coronavirus have died.

A total of 1,265 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded.

There have also been 221 more infections, bringing the number of confirmed cases here to 20,833.

Main image: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking on the steps of Government Buildings Dublin as he addresses the public on steps to ease the existing COVID-19 restrictions. Photo by: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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COVID-19 Restrictions Coronavirus Covid-19 Exercise Irish Economy Leo Varadkar Linkinbio Re-opening Restrictions Roadmap

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