Q&A: What will summer look like when restrictions ease on May 4?

This summer can be "as open as last year, if not more so”
Q&A: What will summer look like when restrictions ease on May 4?

Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

With the announcement that Ireland will be receiving an extra 545,000 Pfizer vaccines this quarter, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has today said the country is “right on track” to further ease restrictions on May 4.

This month saw the removal of the 5km restriction, thereby allowing people to travel freely within their own county or within 20km of their home if crossing county boundaries.

In-school teaching has fully returned, and two households can meet outdoors albeit not in private gardens. By April 26, outdoor sports will resume and visitor attractions such as zoos and wildlife parks reopen.

Government sources have suggested that while Ireland will still have some level of restrictions, this summer can be "as open as last year, if not more so” - so what does that look like right now?

When can I leave my county?

The Government has not yet provided any more details regarding the possibility of travelling from county to county. The Tánaiste has said in the next two weeks, the plan for June and July will be developed, and the lifting of the ban on inter-county travel before July is seen as both possible and necessary.

Inter-county travel restrictions were completely lifted at the beginning of last summer. 

Will I be able to get my hair cut in May?

Come May 4, hairdressers and other personal services will begin to reopen on a staggered basis.

Last year, June saw the reopening of hairdressers, barbers and other personal services with social distancing in place.

Any sign of pubs and restaurants reopening?

Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that plans for both indoor and outdoor hospitality to re-open in June or July will be published by the end of this month.

“We would expect to be in a position at the end of April to give an indication as to how hospitality might reopen across the course of June or July," he said.

"And, you know, I'm increasingly confident that it will be possible."

When these services do resume, it is likely to be in a similar way to last summer, with at first outdoor dining with social distancing measures put in place, followed by indoor dining,

However, there has not been any mention of whether or not substantial meals will again be a necessary requirement for the reopening of the hospitality sector.

In a meeting with the Restaurants Association of Ireland earlier this week, the Taoiseach confirmed that once restaurants and pubs reopen this year, they will remain open.

Will any other facilities be reopening?

April will see the reopening of zoos and other parks, and come May 4 people will be able to look forward to the staggered re-opening of non-essential retail click-and-collect and outdoor retail such as garden centres.

Religious services are expected to resume, while museums, galleries, and libraries are also set to open from May 4.

Can I see more friends and family?

Currently, two households are allowed to meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing and by the end of April, up to 25 people will be allowed to attend funeral services again.

The Government has not yet outlined in their reopening plan whether or not more people will be allowed to meet on either an outdoor or indoor basis, but it is likely they will soon provide details on this considering the planned reopening of some facilities.

At the start of last summer, up to 50 people could gather indoors and up to 200 outdoors but towards the end, this was later whittled down which later saw the gradual return into lockdown.

When can I travel abroad?

Leo Varadkar has said vaccinated people could be able to travel freely within the EU within months.

"The European Union is developing a green cert, and we could see within months, people being able to travel again freely within the European Union, if they're fully vaccinated," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

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