Ireland’s Phase 1 of easing of COVID-19 restrictions to begin on Monday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

IRELAND will move into Phase 1 of Government’s plans to ease restrictions on Monday, May 18, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced today, with the next review taking place on June 5.

The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting this morning on foot of advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

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The easing of restrictions will allow people to meet with friends or family outdoors in groups of no more than four with the current rule of exercising within 5km of the home remaining in place.

He also announced that some forms of sports would be permitted including golf and tennis.

An Taoiseach said, “As part of your daily exercise you will be able to play a game of tennis, or a round of golf, exercise and fitness classes outdoors in small groups of up to four people, once you don’t travel beyond 5 km to do so.

“Some public amenities such as public beaches and mountain walks will reopen.  In every single case it is vital that we maintain a physical distance of 2 metres.”

Mr Varadkar announced that outdoor workers can return to work from Monday, including but not limited to construction and gardening.

As an additional hygiene measure, An Taoiseach said it is recommended to “use face coverings when using busy public transport or when in enclosed indoor public areas, such as retail outlets”.

The message from Government in regards to phase 1 of the easing of the restrictions is to remain at home except for the following five reasons:

  1. To go to work if your workplace is open and you can’t work from home’
  2. To shop for items you need;
  3. To exercise within 5 km of home;
  4. For medical reasons or to care for others;
  5. To meet friends or family outdoors, in groups of no more than four.

Speaking about the decision to enter Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions, Mr Varadkar said, “This gives us reason to hope, but it is not a cause for celebration.  We have a long way to go yet. There will be bumps in the road and we have to keep our guard up.

“If all goes well, we will enter a new phase of reopening our country every three weeks.  The next review will take place on June 5.”

An Taoiseach noted entering Phase 1 is “provisional and reversible” saying the country’s progress “depends on us all continuing to do what we have been doing”.

“As the restrictions ease and we come into contact with more people, the opportunity for the virus to spread increases. So, self-discipline and personal responsibility will become more important, not less,” he said.