Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

14.36 15 Apr 2021


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Ministers believe further re-opening of the country in May is still on track despite concerns about the vaccine rollout.

It comes as COVID-19 cases continue to fall and the number of patients in hospital with the virus reaches its lowest level in over six months.

Amid the improving situation, hairdressers and other personal services are set to return in the middle of next month.

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Click and collect services could resume as early as May 4th, followed by the full return of non-essential retail later in the month.

Allowing more outdoor activities is also under review.

A roadmap for what can be eased through June and July will also be put together towards the end of this month.

More restrictions are still set to be eased over the remainder of April - including the return of outdoor sports such as golf and tennis from April 26th, alongside the reopening of outdoor visitor attractions such as zoos and heritage sites.

Northern Ireland reopening

It comes as people in Northern Ireland are set to learn dates for an accelerated re-opening.

It's expected hairdressers and beauty salons will open from April 23rd, with all retail back on the 30th.

Outdoor dining and drinking, as well as gyms, are expected to return from May 10th.

It raises problems for the Government here, however, with the risk of people crossing the border to access those services.

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged it could be an issue.

He told The Pat Kenny Show: "As things stand, travel within and out of the State - including to Northern Ireland - for a non-essential purpose is against the law.

"But in the real world, are those kinds of laws enforceable in border regions? They're probably not, as those communities are very integrated."

He suggested there could be a more complicated situation during the summer where people may fly into Belfast to 'get around' the mandatory quarantine rules in the Republic.

He said those people would be acting illegally, but enforcing the law would be a 'huge issue' in those cases.

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice
Main image: People on Grafton Street in Dublin. Photo Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

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