THIS Monday, the nation is set to enter ‘Phase 2 plus’ of the easing of lockdown restrictions following an announcement by An Taoiseach that the lifting of restrictions are to be accelerated.
Speaking on Friday, June 5, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the country would move to Phase 2 of the plan to reopen the country following restrictions in place due to the spread of COVID-19.
Some of the changes to restrictions include an increased distance of travel, with people now permitted to travel 20km from their home, or anywhere in their county, whichever is the greater distance. People can also meet in groups of up to six both indoors or outdoors, one social distancing can still be observed.
Phase two will also see retail stores reopen but with opening times staggered “to relieve pressure on public transport”.
Mr Varadkar said, “This has been made possible by the considerable sacrifices you have made to restrict the spread of the virus and protect each other.
“Thanks to your perseverance in pushing back COVID-19 I am announcing an acceleration of the Roadmap. Over the last few months, fear has exerted a kind of gravity pulling us down, but now we find there is hope lifting us up again.”
An Taoiseach acknowledged “we have suffered as a country” during the COVID-19 emergency, “lost loved ones, and changed the way we work and live”.
“We are making progress,” he said, continuing, “We are heading in the right direction. And we have earned the right to be hopeful about the future.”
In what was originally five phases which were originally announced, the accelerated roadmap will now see just a four-phase approach, with Phase 4 now aimed for July 20.
“Further work will be carried out in the coming days and weeks to determine which actions will take place in each phase,” said An Taoiseach, “Some measures such as bans on mass gatherings may need to remain in place well into August as will public health advice around hygiene and physical distancing.”
Under Phase 2, from Monday June 8, the following changes will come into effect:
You can travel within your own county, or up to 20 km from your home, whichever is greater. These travel limits will be lifted from the end of June.
Groups of up to 6 people will be able to interact with each other indoors or outdoors, once they keep at least 2m apart. Groups of up to 15 will be able to meet for outdoor sporting activities.
For those who are over 70 or medically vulnerable, it will be possible to welcome a small number of visitors into your home, with physical distancing observed.
Shops will also provide dedicated hours for those who are over 70 or in an at risk group.
All retail stores can reopen, but opening times will be staggered to relieve pressure on public transport. You are encouraged to shop locally, shop safely and support businesses in your community.
Up to 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals of loved ones.
Public libraries will commence re-opening.
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 possible.
More people will be able to return to work, including all those who work on their own or whose work can be done safely while staying 2m apart from others. Working from home should remain the norm for those who can do so.
Marts can re-open and greyhound racing can resume without spectators.