‘Summer is not lost’ – roadmap for reopening Ireland accelerated

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*Quin. Photograph: John Mangan

Countywide travel will be permitted from Monday as the Cabinet have announced that the condensing of the roadmap for reopening the country.

It has been agreed that the roadmap will now only include four phases instead of the five previously announced. Phase 3 will begin on June 29th with phase 4 to commence on July 20th.

Under Phase 2, from Monday June 8th, 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.

From Monday over 70’s and the vulnerable can welcome people to their homes while people will be able to travel anywhere in the county in which they live and 20km from their homes.

All retail shops will also be allowed reopen as of Monday with the public encouraged to shop local. All shops can open with staggered hours, opening no earlier than 10:30 and allocating dedicated time for elderly, vulnerable and at risk people. “When we return to the high street next week, it will be not be the high street we left behind, it will be different,” Minister for Business and Enterprise, Heather Humphreys (FG) stated,

Shopping centres can open from June 15 but people are not allowed to congregate in food courts or fountains

Groups of 15 people will be entitled to meet up in organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities from Monday. Remote working has been encouraged for those that can continue to do so, “working from home should remain the norm for those who can,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (FG) stated on Friday afternoon.

Attendance at funerals will be expanded to include 25 individuals with the reopening of libraries, playgrounds and summer camps also approved for Phase 2. July Provision which caters for children with learning difficulties has been rubber stamped to return.

Face-coverings will be recommend for people working indoors where 2m social distance is difficult or impossible to uphold.

Domestic travel restrictions will be lifted when Phase 3 begins in an effort to promote domestic tourism and the reopening of the hospitality sector. “Summer is not lost and this can be a summer of home if we keep the virus at bay,” Varadkar said. As part of this hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs with restaurant licences and table service, museums, galleries and church services will be allowed to reopen.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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