Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced in late March that from April 12, the country would begin a gradual rollback of Level 5 restrictions that had been in place across Ireland since the new year.
The country is in the midst of the "final stretch of this terrible journey," Martin told the nation in an address on March 30.
Today, April 26, is the second phase of the gradual rollback. Last Monday, April 12, saw the first batch of restrictions eased.
From today, April 26, the following changes to restrictions have come into effect in the Republic of Ireland:
- Outdoor sport: Outdoor sports facilities can reopen (for example: pitches, golf courses and tennis courts, other facilities as appropriate)
- Outdoor attractions: Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen (for example: zoos, open pet farms, heritage sites). Amusement parks are not permitted to open
- Underage sport: Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 or fewer can resume
- Funerals: Maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25
The following changes will be under consideration from May 4 (subject to prevailing public health situation):
- Full reopening of construction activity
- Phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail, for example: garden centres/nurseries
- Recommencement of personal services on a staggered basis
- Reopening of museums, galleries, and libraries
- Recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis
Here are the current restrictions that are in effect in the Republic of Ireland as of today, April 26:
Schools and higher and adult education
- April 12 onwards (post Easter holidays):
- In-school teaching to fully return.
Higher and adult education
- Higher, further and adult education should remain primarily online.
From April 12, all residential construction can resume, as well as early-learning and childcare projects.
Construction is closed with the following exceptions:
- the construction or development of essential health and related projects, including those relevant to preventing, limiting, minimising, or slowing the spread of COVID-19
- construction or development projects relating to early years services (as defined in s58A the Child Care Act 1991), or essential maintenance or refurbishment works to an existing early years service
- certain essential projects relating to the construction and development at Technological University Dublin Campus Grangegorman
- the repair, maintenance, and construction of critical transport and utility infrastructure
- the supply and delivery of essential or emergency maintenance, installation or repair services to businesses and places of residence (including electrical, gas, oil, plumbing, glazing, security and roofing services)
- construction or development of housing, including adaptation and remediation work and work on vacant residential properties, and the provision of support services relating to such construction or development
- construction and development projects necessary for the maintenance of supply chains in respect of specified services relating to manufacturing or information and communications, but shall exclude general purpose facilities such as office accommodation and car parks
- construction and development projects that relate to the direct supply of medical products for COVID-19
- construction and development projects necessary for the provision of services by Forensic Science Ireland or the Irish Prison Service
- the construction or development of essential educational facilities at primary and post-primary level, including school building projects, which will provide additional capacity for students or involve essential maintenance or refurbishment works in support of the continued provision of education
Retail and services (for example: hairdressers, beauticians, barbers)
All retail is closed except for essential retail.
All non-essential services are closed.
Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets is not permitted.
Click and deliver will continue to be permitted.
The government will consider the phased return of non-essential retail commencing with click and collect and outdoor retail, for example: garden centres/nurseries, after May 4.
Social and family gatherings
In your home or garden:
No visitors are permitted in private homes or gardens except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.
If 2 weeks have passed since you got your second dose of the vaccine, you can meet with other fully vaccinated people from 1 other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 2 metres apart. If you have received the second dose, you have to wait 2 weeks until you can meet other fully vaccinated people indoors.
Other settings outside your home or garden:
You can meet people from 1 other household outdoors, but not in your garden or theirs. Any meetings outdoors should be safe, with continued practising of social distancing and other safe behaviours.
Masks should be worn in crowded outdoor spaces.
Up to 6 guests are permitted.
Organised indoor gatherings
These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner, or manager.
For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).
No organised indoor gatherings should take place.
Organised outdoor gatherings
These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner, or manager. For example: outdoor arts events, training events.
No organised outdoor gatherings should take place.
Exercise and sporting events
- People may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when taking exercise.
- Training can resume for National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult intercounty National Gaelic Games Leagues not including under 20 or minor competitions.
- High-performing athletes, as approved by Sport Ireland, can resume from April 19.
From April 26:
- Outdoor sports facilities can reopen (for example: pitches, golf courses and tennis courts, other facilities as appropriate).
- Activities should take place between a maximum of two households. Facilities including club houses and any indoor facilities (for example: changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms), apart from essential toilet facilities must remain closed. There should not be any return to team sports or training activities.
- Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 can resume.
Matches and events:
- Professional, elite sports, horse racing, greyhound racing and approved equestrian events only are permitted to continue behind closed doors.
- No other matches or events are to take place.
Gyms, leisure centres, and swimming pools are closed.
Services will be held online. This will be reviewed by 4 May.
Places of worship remain open for private prayer.
Attendance at funerals
A maximum of 25 people can attend funerals.
Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions
All venues closed. This will be reviewed by 4 May.
Online services are available.
Bars, cafes, and restaurants (including hotel restaurants and bars)
Take away food and delivery only.
Nightclubs, discos, casinos
Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed.
Hotels and accommodation
Open only for essential non-social and non-tourist purposes.
Work from home unless essential for work, which is an essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.
You can travel within your own county or within 20km of your home if crossing county boundaries.
You can travel beyond these distances for the following reasons:
- travel to and from work, where work involves providing an essential service
teachers, SNAs and other school staff will be allowed to travel to school to facilitate distance learning
- to attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products
- travel to attend disability day services
- travel to attend a court
- for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, and in particular for those who live alone, but excluding social family visits
- for food shopping
- for farming purposes (food production or care of animals)
- to attend a wedding or funeral
- to visit a grave
Outdoor playgrounds, play areas and parks
Open with protective measures in place.
Walk or cycle where possible.
Avoid public transport - except for essential workers and essential purposes only.
Public transport capacity is restricted to 25%.
Over 70 and others at increased risk of severe illness
Those aged over 70 years and over and others at increased risk of severe illness should exercise judgement regarding the extent to which they engage with others and in activities outside home.
However, guidance for those most vulnerable to the severe impacts of COVID-19 that have been fully vaccinated will be aligned with that for the general population (for example: regarding use of public transport, going to shops).
Those who have the full protection of the vaccine may visit indoors with one other household who also has full protection.
Full protection is not in place if it has been less than 2 weeks since the second vaccine dose.
See the HPSC's guidance on vaccinated individuals visiting other vaccinated individuals in a household setting.
See guidance for people at increased risk of severe illness.
Guidance for other people at increased risk of severe illness
- disability services guidance
- older persons/long-term residential care facilities
- others at increased risk of severe illness
Visiting long-term residential care facilities (nursing and care homes)
Residents may be facilitated to receive 2 visits per week on general compassionate grounds. This will be possible following two weeks after full vaccination of approximately 8 out of 10 of all residents and healthcare workers in the nursing home.
There is no requirement to limit visits to less than one hour.
See the new guidance on visits to Long Term Residential Care Facilities (LTRCFs), which came into effect from 22 March 2021.