Current lockdown restrictions are to remain in place until after Easter week where an easing of measures will slowly come into effect.
From April 12th, the 5km limit will be lifted and countywide travel will be permitted. From this date, two households will be allowed to meet outdoors for social and recreational purposes. Construction of housing and childcare facilities will also resume seeing an estimated 40,000 people return to work.
A week later, on April 19th the return of inter-county training resumes. This is to facilitate the start of the Allianz National Leagues in May.
Outdoor sport for U18s will be allowed from April 26th along with the playing of golf and tennis. Access to zoos and wildlife parks is granted on this sate while the amount of mourners at funerals will increase to 25. Two vaccinated persons will be entitled to meet in indoor and outdoor settings.
Reopening of hotels, B&Bs and guest-houses will be assessed towards the end of May.
Speaking at Government buildings, Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) stated, “TThe disease we are dealing with now is a very different beast to that which we were facing at the beginning of the first lockdown in Ireland more than 54 weeks ago” and cautioned that it was “significantly more dangerous”.
Vaccines were hailed as “truly transformative” and “our way out” by the Taoiseach. “By the middle of April, all over 70s will have had their first dose, and mid to late May all over 70s will be fully vaccinated. So, the truth is that despite the difficulties with international supply, our National Vaccination Programme is well underway. I expect that by the end of next week, we will have administered close to 1 million doses. After that, our plan is to pick up the pace even further. Close to 3 million doses will be administered by the end of May. Nearly 5 million doses by early July. 6 million doses by the end of July,” he outlined.
“This Summer, our businesses and our public services will safely reopen.We will finally be meeting and enjoying the company of friends and family once again. We will be able to travel within and enjoy our beautiful country again. Jobs and livelihoods will be restored. And most importantly, the worst of this awful pandemic, will be behind us,” the Taoiseach concluded.
The month of April
The following phased easing of restrictions will begin on 12 April and continue through the month:
- Full return to in-school teaching.
- Two households can meet up with one another outdoors for social and recreational purposes (this does not include private gardens). Any meetings outdoors should be safe with continued practicing of social distancing and other safe behaviours. Masks should be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.
- Travel restrictions will be relaxed to enable travel within own county or within 20km of residence if crossing county boundaries.
- All residential construction projects can recommence.
- Early Learning and Childcare and school aged childcare services will be added to list of essential services for construction activity during these restrictions to align with the current exemption to primary and secondary schools (where school building projects are progressing) and to allow important fire safety works to progress.
From 19 April:
- Expansion of elite sports to include:
- training for and playing of National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult intercounty National Gaelic Games Leagues, not including under 20 or minor competitions.
- certain high performing athletes as approved by Sport Ireland, in a range of sports.
From 26 April (subject to prevailing public health situation):
- Outdoor sports facilities can reopen (e.g. pitches, golf courses and tennis courts, other facilities as appropriate). See notes to editors for further details.
- Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen (i.e. zoos, open pet farms, heritage sites). Amusement parks are not permitted to open. See notes to editors for further details.
- Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 can recommence for all exercise activities that can be delivered outdoors including dance.
- Maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25 on compassionate grounds. Linked gatherings should not take place before or after funeral services.
Vaccine Bonus for those fully vaccinated
- Current guidance for those most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19 – the over 70s and the medically vulnerable – will be aligned with that for the general population (e.g. regarding use of public transport, going to shops etc)
- Those who have the full protection of the vaccine may visit indoors with one other household who also has full protection. Those that are fully vaccinated may visit with other fully vaccinated people (from one other household only) indoors without wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart. Full protection is not in place if it has been less than 2 weeks since the second vaccine dose. If a second dose is still awaited, enhanced protected measures should continue to be applied.
Government’s community support, well-being programmes, employment and business supports continue, with the EWSS, PUP and Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit applicable to June 30th.
The measures announced today will continue up to the 4th of May, at which point the following areas will be under consideration:
- Full re-opening of construction activity.
- Phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail i.e. garden centres/nurseries.
- Recommencement of Personal Services on a staggered basis.
- Re-opening of Museums, Galleries & Libraries
- Recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis