Taoiseach announces move to 'Phase 2 plus' of Covid-19 roadmap - 'Summer is not lost'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed that it is safe to move to phase 2 of easing Covid-19 restrictions from Monday.
Taoiseach announces move to 'Phase 2 plus' of Covid-19 roadmap - 'Summer is not lost'

The Government has confirmed that Ireland will proceed to Phase 2 of the road map for reopening the economy, with a suite of additional measures added in.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that this would be a "Phase 2 plus" and confirmed that there would be four phases instead of five, with Ireland's economy nearly fully open by July 20. Mr Varadkar said that people should "stay local" rather than "stay home".

Under the new guidelines, people will be allowed travel 20km from home as well as anywhere within their own county, whichever is greater. Domestic travel restrictions will be lifted from June 29.

Phase 2 will also see an acceleration of certain parts of the economy, with shopping centres allowed open as early as June 15 and hotels and B&Bs allowed to reopen from June 29.

Under the acceleration, groups of six people can meet indoors or outdoors and up to 15 people can train together where distancing can be enforced. Outdoor facilities from children - including camps of up to 15 people - can open from Monday, while supervised playgrounds can also open. Up to 25 people can now attend funerals.

All shops can open from Monday, the Taoiseach said, provided that they stagger opening hours, maintain distancing and dedicate opening hours to older and medically vulnerable people.

The tourism industry can reopen from June 29, including bars which serve food with table service only, Mr Varadkar said.

"Summer is not lost," he said.

Mr Varadkar thanked the public in their efforts to suppress the virus.

Announcing the acceleration in the road map, he said: “We have earned the right to be hopeful about the future again. Based on evidence from NPHET, Cabinet agreed to implement phase two and a phase 2 plus on Monday.

“There will now just be four phases. Phase three will start on June 20.

“Under the guidance of the CMO and other health experts, we will work out further actions.

“We always said we would accelerate if it was safe to do so. We have reached that point with your help.”

Mr Varadkar also said that this has been a “difficult period” for those aged over 70 and with medical issues.

“There is cause for hope, from Monday it will be permissible to welcome a small number of people to their homes,” Mr Varadkar added.

“We recognise the difficulty the 5km of having so from Monday people can travel anywhere within their own county or 20km from their own homes.

“We want people to stay local and in their own county, From Monday groups of people of six people can meet with each other and groups of 15 people can meet for outdoor sporting activities.

“Up to 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals of loved ones.”

Mr Varadkar also said that retail stores will reopen.

“Shopping malls can open on June 15 provided only shops will reopen,” he added.

“Summer is not lost and this can be a summer of hope if we keep the virus at bay.

“We want to see the return of domestic tourism and the reopening of hotels, restaurants, hotels, caravan parks, galleries and museums will open from June 29.”

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