As of Monday, exactly two years to the day since Ireland announced its first case of Covid-19, we no longer have to wear masks in shops, restaurants or bars.
And just like that, with practically all Covid-19 restrictions finally gone, we can go back to life as normal. But will life really feel normal after two years of living through a health emergency?
How much have we changed as a people since February 2020 and how well has Ireland coped with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Covid has "given us an excuse to judge each other's lifestyle choices," features writer Jennifer O'Connell told the In the News podcast. "In the beginning we were making judgements about teenagers and Cheltenham goers. And then we were making judgements about neighbours having friends around.
“I think we’ve got really used to being allowed to be judgmental about other people, that’s been almost an outlet for anxiety for some people. But I do think we need to really reign it in now and get back to a culture of live and let live.”
Overall, Ireland did pretty well dealing with the pandemic when compared with how other countries responded, Irish Times Public Affairs Editor Simon Carswell also told the podcast. However, questions will need to be asked about how ill-prepared the State was for such a health crisis and also whether the Government really needed to enforce such strict lockdowns for such long periods of time, he added.
“I think the big mistakes that were made were in the area of nursing homes and congregated settings in residential settings,” he told the podcast. “Really they were left out on their own.”
Today we ask, has the pandemic changed Ireland?
In the News is presented by reporters Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope.
Listen to the podcast here: