Unlocking Ireland: What exactly will happen in reconfigured phase two on Monday?

Q&A: The Government announced a speeding up of the roadmap to reopen the country

A risk-based approach to the reopening of businesses and shops is to continue in phase two.

A risk-based approach to the reopening of businesses and shops is to continue in phase two.

 

What is happening on Monday?

From Monday, phase two of the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business will come into effect. The Government signed off on moving to the second phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions on Friday.

What exactly is going to change and what is reopening?

From Monday people can travel anywhere within their own county or up to 20km from their home, whichever is the larger distance.

Groups of up to six can meet indoors or outdoors and groups of up to 15 people can meet for outdoor sport. Shops can reopen but will be required to operate staggered hours with dedicated times for the elderly, vulnerable and at-risk.

Shopping centres can open on June 15th but measures must be taken to ensure that people cannot congregate.

Public libraries and playgrounds can reopen while a new summer education programme for children with special educational needs will be introduced.

Summer camps for children can also be held once there are no more than 15 people mixing together. Marts can re-open and greyhound racing can resume without spectators. Shopping malls can open on June 15th but measures must be taken to ensure that people cannot congregate.

Does this mean all stores will reopen?

No it will be up to each chain. Ikea is among the major retailers to confirm they will reopen next week with a number of anti-virus safety measures in place. Marks & Spencer also said all its non-food stores will reopen on Monday. Book retailer Eason will also reopen six stores next week on a “trial basis” . 

Has the Government’s roadmap been accelerated?

Yes. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Friday there was a reconfiguration of the roadmap to reopen the country. There are now just two remaining phases instead of three, with phase three starting on June 29th and phase four on July 20th. Further work will be carried out in the coming days and weeks to determine which actions will take place in each phase, Mr Varadkar said.

What is expected to reopen on June 29th?

Hotels, restaurants, bars that also operate as restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums are all due to reopen.

Pubs and bars do not need a restaurant licence to open and can operate as if they were restaurants but people will not be sitting or gathering at bars as they normally would.

It is anticipated that places of worship will also be able to reopen from this point.

What about hairdressers and barbers?

As it stands hairdressers and barbers will not reopen until phase four on July 20th.

What about pubs?

Hundreds of pubs are expected to reopen weeks earlier than anticipated at the end of the month as if they have restaurant licences.

Can I visit my elderly parents from Monday?

Small numbers of people will be allowed to visit the homes of those over 70 and those who are medically vulnerable, but must wear gloves and face masks and maintain social distancing.

Am I still required to work from home?

Working from home should remain the norm for those who can do so, according to the Taoiseach. However, those who work on their own or whose work can be done safely while staying two metres apart from others can return.

What about funerals - can more people attend now?

Groups of up to 25 people will be allowed at funerals, up from 10 previously.

Is there any sign of a relaxation of the two-metre rule?

The State’s chief medical officer Tony Holohan said last week there will be no immediate change to the current two-metre rule for physical distancing. Minister for Health Simon Harris reiterated these comments on Thursday evening.

Dr Holohan told the Cabinet that reducing the two metres to one metre could increase the risk of infection. Many businesses have said they would be unable to reopen unless the social distancing guide of two metres is reduced to one metre.

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