Speaking today Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that Phase 2 of the roadmap to reopen the country from the Coronavirus pandemic will go ahead on Monday, and that the plan is being significantly accelerated.
The Taoiseach’s announcement came after a Cabinet meeting earlier today to discuss the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Based on the public health recommendations from the NPHET and reports on the economic impact from the pandemic, it was decided to accelerate the plan to come out of lockdown.
A greater degree of restrictions will be lifted on June 8 than anticipated, and the roadmap is being reconfigured from 5 Phases, down to 4, with the final phase restrictions beginning on July 20.
Under the previous time table, the final phase of coming out of lockdown was not due to begin until August 10.
From Monday people will be able to travel anywhere in their county rather than the 20km limit expected previously, with all travel limits lifting at the end of June.
All retail stores will be allowed to open from Monday, as long as opening times as staggered to avoid pressure on public transport.
Shops opening must provide dedicated time for people over 70 or who are medically vulnerable in order to limit interactions with other people.
For both public health and economic reasons people are being encouraged to shop locally as much as possible.
In his speech Leo Varadkar said that in the last few months, fear has created “a kind of gravity pulling us down”, but that there is now hope again.
“During this Emergency we have suffered as a country, lost loved ones, and changed the way that we work and live.”
“We are making progress. We are heading in the right direction. And we have earned the right to be hopeful about the future again.”
Groups of up to 6 people will be allowed to meet outdoors, as long as they practice social distancing of 2 metres to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Playgrounds can reopen from Monday, and outdoor camps for children can also be run, once there are no more than 15 people involved.
Certain types of “elite sports training” will also be allowed to take place again, and groups of up to 15 people will be allowed to meet for outdoors sports.
Phase 3, beginning on June 29, will contain significant benefits for the hospitality industry, as all restaurants will be allowed to reopen, as will bars with restaurant licences.
Hostels, caravan parks, and public amenities such as museums and galleries will also be allowed to reopen at this time.
The latest figures from the Department of Health show that 1,664 people in the state have died due to the coronavirus, while 25,142 cases have been confirmed.
“I have always said that we would accelerate the reopening of our country, but only if it was safe to do so,” Taoiseach Varadkar said.
“Thanks to your actions we have now reached that point, and with your help we will keep moving forward.”