Q&A: Which Level 5 restrictions are being lifted from today?

First phase of a slow rolling back of lockdown is beginning, so what is allowed?

Q&A: How many people can meet and what is there to look forward to?

Q&A: How many people can meet and what is there to look forward to?

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

The first phase of a slow and steady rolling back of lockdown restrictions begins on Monday. So what will change and what are we allowed to do?

How far can I travel from home?

The main change is the 5km limit on non-essential travel will be scrapped. Instead people will be allowed to travel anywhere within their county or, as long as they remain within 20km of their home, across county boundaries.

This does not mean everyone in Dublin, for example, can travel anywhere within the county, and then also a further 20km into a neighbouring county.

The 20km rule was introduced to accommodate people who live near the border of one or several counties.

Travelling further afield for essential purposes, such as work, education, or caring responsibilities, is still permitted.

Who can I meet up with?

The other big change from this week means people can meet up with one other household outdoors.

The guidelines insist people should not meet up with others in home gardens – so hold the invites to the barbecues for now.

Public health officials are conscious that social gatherings between households in private gardens would pose a greater risk than meeting up with someone for a walk.

What about schools?

All in-school teaching resumes today following the Easter break.

For first- to fourth-year secondary-school students, this will be the first time they return to classrooms this year.

Sixth- and fifth-year students, as well as primary-school pupils, resumed in-class teaching as part of a staggered return to school last month.

There had been speculation that a worrying upward creep of Covid-19 cases in late March might have put the further reopening of schools after Easter in jeopardy.

However, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) continues to insist that transmission rates of the virus and outbreaks in schools are low.

So is that it?

The final change to restrictions from this week is a further reopening of construction sites, with the green light given to all residential and childcare construction projects.

A man prepares to open The Kiosk in Portmarnock, Co Dublin. There has been no date given for the resumption of outdoor dining, or when restaurants and bars might expect to reopen fully. Photograph: Tom Honan
A man prepares to open The Kiosk in Portmarnock, Co Dublin. There has been no date given for the resumption of outdoor dining, or when restaurants and bars might expect to reopen fully. Photograph: Tom Honan

What else can I look forward to?

Outdoor sports and visitor attractions will resume from April 26th.

From that date, golf courses, football pitches, tennis courts and other outdoor sporting facilities will be permitted to reopen, with non-contact training allowed in pods of up to 15 people for underage teams.

Outdoor visitor attractions, such as zoos, heritage sites, and pet farms, will also reopen to the public.

Also from April 26th, the limit on numbers permitted to attend funerals will be increased from 10 mourners to 25.

Hairdressers and other personal services, religious services, as well as museums, galleries and libraries are planned to reopen from May 4th.

From this date too there will be a phased reopening of non-essential retail, starting with click-and-collect services, and outdoor stores such as garden centres.

Is this all set in stone?

The Government has said that the reopening plan is all subject to the “prevailing public health situation” at the time. There is some optimism at our current position, with the number of new cases of coronavirus below 500 all last week.

Reluctant to give firm dates too far forward, the Government has suggested that all going well, hotels, B&Bs and guest houses might reopen in June.

There has been no date given for the resumption of outdoor dining, or when restaurants and bars might expect to reopen fully.

The restaurant industry is privately preparing to push to reopen alongside the rest of the hospitality sector in June.