Phase 1 of 'reopening' has begun

Minister for Health nervous about coming weeks
  • Deborah Condon

Phase 1 of the Government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business is now in place.

While the primary message continues to be stay at home as much as you can, a number of restrictions have been lifted or altered. People are allowed leave home in the following cases:
-To go to work if your workplace is open and you cannot work from home
-To shop for items you need
-To exercise within 5km of your home
-For medical reasons or to care for others
-To meet friends or family outdoors, in groups of no more than four, and while maintaining social distancing.

As part of phase 1, some stores and businesses have reopened, such as hardware stores, garden centres, farmers markets, opticians, electrical retailers and motorbike/bicycle repair shops. Outdoor workers, such as construction workers and gardeners, have also returned to work, however social distancing must be maintained.

Outdoor sports facilities, such as golf courses and pitches have opened, and people may practice sport or fitness activities in groups of up to four people, but they must practice social distancing, minimise contact, not share equipment and practice strict hygiene.

Outdoor public amenities and tourism sites, such as beaches, parks and mountain walks have also reopened.

The Government has advised people to wear face coverings on public transport and in enclosed public areas, such as shops.

However, this is only advised for people over the age of 13 and is not a legal requirement. For guidance on the safe use of face coverings, click here

Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said that he was "pleased that we have reached this point because of the incredible effort of the Irish people in suppressing this virus", but he is also nervous because the virus "hasn't gone away".

"We all need to approach the next couple of weeks showing that collective cop-on. Just because somewhere is open doesn't mean we need to go... If we get these next three weeks right, it means that as a country we will have found a way of trying to live successfully and safely alongside the virus," he commented.

He said that the current figures and trends are very encouraging. On April 9, there were 160 people in ICU with COVID-19, while on May 17, there were 54. Furthermore, just 64 new cases of the virus were reported on May 17 compared to 1,068 on April 15.

For more information on phase 1 of the roadmap, click here.


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