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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 8 December 2021

Coronavirus: Taoiseach gives the green light for Phase Three of re-opening to go ahead from Monday

The announcement was made at Dublin Castle this evening.

Image: RTE

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has given the green light for Phase Three of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions to go ahead from Monday. 

Last Friday, Varadkar announced a further re-configuration of the government’s roadmap for re-opening the country.

It means that a number of activities that would have been scheduled to begin again in Phase Four can now take place in Phase Three.

Speaking this evening, Varadkar said the last three months had been tough for everyone and “as a country we must now try to repair the damage that has been done across all parts of our lives”. 

He said the country has never had to go through something like this and we need to learn lessons and “be prepared for a second wave, or a completely different pandemic or public health emergency” in the future.

The move into Phase Three means: 

  • Pubs can reopen, with various restrictions, once they serve a “substantial” meal worth at least €9
  • All transport restrictions within Ireland will be lifted
  • Hotels, restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums can reopen
  • Churches and places of worship can reopen with restrictions 
  • Gyms, cinemas and leisure facilities can reopen with restrictions 
  • Hairdressers and barber shops can reopen with safety measures in place 
  • All sporting activities, including close contact sports and all leagues, can resume, but with limited spectators
  • Mass gatherings will be limited to 50 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, though there will be an exception for larger places of worship.

Varadkar also confirmed people arriving in Ireland from certain countries from 9 July will not have to quarantine for 14 days. He said details of these countries on the “green list” will be provided later. 

Restrictions will be further eased, it’s planned, in Phase Four, which is due to begin on 20 July. 

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met today and a Cabinet meeting took place this afternoon to further discuss Ireland’s progress in lifting the restrictions imposed in March. 

Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed the government has decided to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on public transport, using the emergency health legislation. 

He said there will be a sanction but the detail of this has not been decided yet. Harris said he hoped the message had gone out and this would encourage people to wear coverings. 

He also said he wanted to thank people in Ireland for their “incredible efforts” in the last three months. He said despite the significant increased movement since restrictions were eased Ireland has seen the biggest drop in new cases across the EU in the past two weeks. 

Today there are 31 people with Covid-19 in hospital and 9 patients with the disease in ICU. 

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- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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