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Everything you need to know about coronavirus restrictions from 8 June

All retail shops to reopen, groups of six allowed to meet, and travel within your own county – some of the measures kicking in from Monday.

Darcey Skelly cleaning MUJI in Dublin city centre ahead of reopening on Monday.
Darcey Skelly cleaning MUJI in Dublin city centre ahead of reopening on Monday.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

MONDAY WILL SEE the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions at an accelerated rate from the previous roadmap, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar calling next week’s stage “Phase Two Plus”.

At the start of May, Varadkar announced a five-step plan for lifting the measures put in place by the government to slow the spread of Covid-19. That five-step plan has been condensed down to four and a number of measures have been brought forward.

Full details of the plan can be read here

First off, public health advice is still for people to avoid unnecessary journeys and to continue to work from home if possible. 

As part of the accelerated roadmap, people will be permitted to travel anywhere within their own county, or up to 20km from home, whichever is greater from Monday. 

The government is stressing that, while restrictions on travel and on many activities have been eased, people should “stay local”. 

In terms of social visits, up to six people from different households can meet up both indoors and outdoors for a short period while maintaining strict social distancing. This is a change from the original government roadmap where just four people were allowed to meet.

Social visits also apply to the over 70s and medically vulnerable who can welcome a small number of people to their home. People are advised to wear face coverings and gloves during these visits. 

There is to be a phased reintroduction of visiting at nursing homes, starting on June 15 in homes that put in place required protocols

This is the first time since lockdown measures were introduced in Ireland that people can visit their family in their respective homes. Social distancing must still be adhered to. The advice is to respect the two-metre distancing which we have all become accustomed to over the last 12 weeks. 

Up to 25 immediate family and close friends may attend funeral services for loved ones from Monday. A maximum of 10 people were permitted to attend a funeral since mid-March.

Organised outdoor exercise, sporting, cultural or social activities of up to 15 people may also take place.

People should only use public transport if they absolutely need to. Public transport capacity is limited because of social distancing requirements. It is still recommended that face coverings be worn on public transport and in public places, such as shops.  

What’s reopening?  

Most retailers will be able to open their doors from Monday, while shopping centres will also be able to open from 15 June.

Opening times will be staggered to relieve pressure on public transport and retailers will also provide dedicated hours for those who are over 70 or in an at-risk group.

The government is asking that people shop locally, shop safely and support businesses in their community.

All businesses that are reopening will have to comply with the government’s mandatory return-to-work health and safety protocols and ensure strict adherence to social distancing rules. 

In terms of cultural and social measures, public libraries with limited numbers can reopen. 

Some good news for kids, the country’s playgrounds are due to reopen Monday, with NPHET recommending they be “supervised and regularly cleaned by local authorities”. 

However, Dublin City Council has said it won’t be reopening any of its facilities until it receives further clarification from the government as it “does not operate supervised playgrounds”. 

Outdoor summer camps will also be allowed to operate for secondary school children – once there are no more than 15 people involved. 

“Importantly, primary school-age children are still attending primary school until the end of Phase 2 and therefore it would not be appropriate for them to attend summer camps,” NPHET noted in their advice to government. 

In terms of sport, groups of up to 15 people, including trainers and coaches, may return to non-contact outdoor training activity (but not matches) while maintaining social distancing at all times.

High-performance athletes and their support staff will also be permitted to resume training at specific locations. 

Greyhound racing and horse racing is to resume behind doors from Monday. The Irish Greyhound Board confirmed they have arranged a schedule of  trials to commence on Monday 8 June at all 14 greyhound tracks 

What will remain closed?

Pubs will remain closed for Phased Two but will be able to reopen on 29 June once they serve food. For pubs to open on this date, they must operate a table service and adhere to social distancing rules.

All other pubs can reopen on 20 July – three weeks earlier than originally planned.

Restaurants and cafes will reopen as originally planned on 29 June.

Barbers, hairdressers, and nail salons will remain shut until 20 July as their work involves “almost face-to-face contact” which makes it a “high-risk engagement”.

Couples hoping to get married will also have to wait a little longer for news of when weddings can resume. The original government roadmap stated that small weddings would be permitted by 20 July. 

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said there were no specific recommendations around weddings for Phase Two, but they will be under consideration for either phase three or four. 

Tourism and hospitality sectors are planned to return on 29 June in an effort to see the return of domestic tourism in the country. 

Varadkar said he hoped that all going to plan, hotels, restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums will reopen on 29 June. It is anticipated that places of worship will also be able to reopen from this point.

Although the final phase of the easing of restrictions has been brought forward to 20 July, the ban on mass gatherings may remain “well into the autumn.” 

Pedal to the metal 

As previously mentioned, Varadkar announced the acceleration of the roadmap this evening, meaning there will now be four phases of easing restrictions, rather than five.

Phase Three will begin on 29 June and Phase Four will start on 20 July.

It’s planned that all travel restrictions will be scrapped on 29 June.

As always, the beginning of each phase will be kept under constant review and there is a chance that restrictions that have previously been lifted could be re-imposed.  

Looking ahead to 29 June, in order for the country to move into Phase Three the five “trigger criteria”  laid out in the government’s roadmap must be met.

Decision-making on these transitions will be based on:

  1. The latest data regarding the progression of the disease
  2. The capacity and resilience of the health service in terms of hospital and ICU occupancy
  3. The capacity of the programme of sampling, testing and contact tracing
  4. The ability to shield and care for at risk groups
  5. An assessment of the risk of secondary morbidity and mortality as a consequence of the restrictions.

Varadkar said the decision to accelerate the easing of restrictions was made based on the medical evidence and the recommendations of NPHET and government reports on the economic and social impact of Covid-19.

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About the author:

Adam Daly

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