Phased plan could see shops and restaurants reopen in summer

Phased plan could see shops and restaurants reopen in summer

Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke

Cafes, restaurants and retailers could reopen by mid-summer.

It is part of a phased plan to exit the coronavirus lockdown, which is being considered by senior health officials.

This plan would involve number of phases with the first allowing over 70s out to exercise on a no-touch basis, outdoor workers could return to work and four people not from the same household could gather within social distancing rules.

Some retailers like garden centres could reopen and the 2km distance would increase to 5km or 10km.

In terms of school, there would be some restricted classes for Leaving Cert students.

We would then move on to the next phase which could see some cafes and restaurants open with social distancing in place while the phase after that would allow people holiday within Ireland.

The later phases would see pubs and offices reopen with social distancing in place.

Details of these phases - which are reported in the Irish Times - are likely to be revealed on Friday where its believed there will be little easing of the current restrictions.

Daniel McCoy, the Chief Executive of IBEC, the business and employer representative body, has said the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic has been huge economically and efforts must commence for a return to a ‘new normal.’

Mr McCoy called for a ‘road map’ for recovery from the government. He told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that when the Covid-19 crisis began, everyone believed it to be a temporary situation, but this is “clearly not the case and we will all be living with this virus for months.

We’re going to need to have a road map to adjustment that reflects this reality and we have to be conscious of losing our livelihoods as well as our lives.

Mr McCoy said that when there is a return to work it would have to involve sharing public space and companies would need to know how this would work.

A holistic approach to the problem was needed, he said and he questioned if the Government could afford to continue as it has. Mr McCoy said that the pandemic welfare payments in the Republic were very generous compared to other countries and were not sustainable.

Workplace safety, the rationing of public space all needed to be planned for, he added. “We need joined up thinking to deal with an economic crisis that is going to last a lot longer than we originally thought.”

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