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At a glance: Everything you need to know about the reopening plan announced tonight

These are all the key dates you need to know.

File image of people dining outdoors in Dublin last September.
File image of people dining outdoors in Dublin last September.
Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE TAOISEACH ANNOUNCED a wide-ranging ease of restrictions this evening, striking a much more hopeful tone than previous Covid-19 announcements.

The main measures have been well-flagged over the past few days – with a significant easing of lockdown restrictions to take effect next month and into June. 

The new measures include recommencing inter-county travel, increased numbers at funerals and weddings, and hairdressers and barbers reopening their doors.

Here are the main restrictions due to be eased over the next couple of months.

Travel

Inter-county travel can recommence from 10 May.

In terms of international travel, the government said it will be considered at the end of June for “later in the year” in terms of when it would be recommended again.

Meeting other households

From 10 May, the guidance is that three households or six people from any number of households can meet outdoors including in a private garden.

This limit of six people doesn’t include children aged 12 or younger.

A maximum of 15 people may meet in an organised outdoor gathering from 10 May, according to the guidance.

Subject to the public health situation in the next while, non-vaccinated people will be allowed to have visitors from one other household indoors from 7 June. 

Vaccine bonus

Fully vaccinated people will be allowed to meet indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household with no masks or social distancing from 10 May – provided the unvaccinated people are not at risk of a severe illness.

Those who are fully vaccinated can meet indoors with other vaccinated people, once no more than three households are present (the current advice is that two vaccinated households may meet indoors).

The timelines for when vaccinated people are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ depends on the specific vaccine and number of doses received. Further details on this can be found here.

Businesses 

Businesses availing of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) that can reopen soon under the easing of restrictions can avail of double restart week payments for a period of two weeks, subject to the maximum amount of €5,000 per week

This is aimed at supporting businesses to meet the costs of reopening as they exit the scheme. 

The government said there will be “clear sectoral guidance” for businesses at each reopening stage.

“There will be no cliff edge in financial supports for businesses,” the government said. 

The advice continues to be that people who can work from home should continue to do so unless it is “absolutely necessary” to attend in person.

Speaking to reporters tonight Tánaiste and business minister Leo Varadkar said he can’t see a return to the office for most people until September.

file-photo-cabinet-is-expected-to-approve-a-raft-of-measures-today-to-ease-lockdown-restrictions-including-plans-to-phase-the-reopening-of-pubs-hairdressers-and-non-essential-retail-end Hairdressers haven't been allowed open their doors since late December. Source: Sasko Lazarov

Hairdressers

  • Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and other personal services can reopen from 10 May by appointment only. 

Retail 

  • Click-and-collect shopping is allowed to resume from 10 May. 
  • All retail stores, including non-essential, will be permitted to reopen from 17 May. 

Outdoor/indoor dining

  • Pubs and hospitality will resume outdoor business from 7 June. Groups will be limited to six people. 
  • On 2 June, hotels, B&Bs, hostels and self-catering facilities will be permitted to reopen their doors. Services like indoor restaurants, bars and swimming pools will be restricted to overnight guests and residents.

Unlike last year’s reopening, there will be no distinction between restaurants, ‘wet’ pubs, gastropubs and other food outlets. The €9 meal measure allowing pubs that serve food to reopen last year will also not return.

There is no fixed date set for the return of indoor dining, but it’s expected to be some time in July. 

The easing of restrictions is all subject to the “prevailing disease situation and a full assessment by public health at that time”, a government statement said.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) said it was “extremely pleased” with the news but urged the government to ensure indoor trading resumes as quickly as possible.

Religious services

In-person religious services can recommence from 10 May, but communions and confirmations are off the cards for the moment. 

The Taoiseach said government is “cautious” about communions and confirmations due to gatherings that take place after the service.

50 people will be permitted to attend funerals and wedding ceremonies (both civil and religious).

However, just six people will be able to attend an indoor wedding reception and 15 allowed outdoors. From 7 June, 25 guests will be able to attend wedding receptions. 

Sports and exercise

Outdoor training for adult sports in pods of no more than 15 people will be permitted from 10 May. 

Outdoor matches will be permitted to take place from 7 June, with no spectators allowed at that point. 

Included in the government’s ‘next steps’ to be examined at the end of June are indoor team/group sports including matches, training and exercise classes.

Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres can also reopen for individual training from 7 June. 

Our colleagues at The 42 have all the detail

Culture

Galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural activities can reopen from 10 May.

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Preparation for the safe reopening of cinemas and theatres will be looked at in June. 

The government’s reopening plan states that a limited number of pilot live events for arts, culture, sport and live entertainment, both indoor and outdoor, are being considered. 

Arts Minister Catherine Martin said the series of indoor and outdoor pilot events will allow the government to assess the feasibility of larger organised events later in the year. 

Public transport

Transport will start to run at 50% capacity from 10 May. It’s currently at 25% capacity.

Construction

All construction can recommence from 4 May.  There was a further reopening of the sector earlier this month.

Another Level? 

Not sure what level we’re supposed to be at these days? 

There were no mentions of Level 5, Level 4, or, for that matter, any levels whatsoever in the Taoiseach’s speech this evening or in the official statements sent out by the government setting out the various changes. 

Asked by The Journal whether the levels were still being observed or if they had somehow ended up in the bin somewhere along the way, the Taoiseach said the response to the coronavirus had evolved since the system was created and that the main focus was on emphasising that outdoor activities were far better than indoor ones. 

“You could describe it maybe as a Level 3 plus,” he conceded. 

- With reporting by Daragh Brophy 

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