Ireland is officially one week out from the May 18 launch of its "roadmap" scheme to reopen society and the economy after coronavirus restrictions.
The Irish government published its “roadmap,” a five-phased plan to roll back restrictions, on Friday, May 1. Officials have reiterated that the roadmap is a “living” document and can and will be adjusted in accordance with public health guidance.
Ireland's Minister for Health Simon Harris said today that the Irish government will receive an official recommendation from Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) towards the end of the week whether or not Phase 1 can begin on May 18:
According to the current version of the roadmap, here are the measures that are set to come into effect on May 18, one week from today, in Ireland if NPHET gives the okay:
Public health measures
Wearing of face masks: We will be issuing further guidance on when and where people should wear face masks in advance of 18 May.
Stay at home: You should still stay at home as much as you possibly can.
Meeting small groups outside: Up to 4 people who don't live together can meet outdoors while keeping at least 2 metres apart.
Funerals: The current restrictions will remain in place. Attendance at funerals is kept to a maximum of 10 people - and only members of the household, close family or close friends if the deceased has no household or family members.
Health and social care
There will be increased delivery of non-COVID-19 care and services alongside COVID-19 care to meet demand through:
- implementing measures to ensure safe delivery of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care and services side by side
- continuing to deliver care and services in new ways (for example: through telephone, online, virtual clinics) and new models of care to meet demand and to alleviate concerns of patients, service users, and healthcare workers
- the use of masks, personal protective equipment, testing and other measures that may emerge over time
- continuing to support the mental health and wellbeing initiatives directed to meeting the diverse mental health and resilience needs of the public during these times
Education and childcare
Childcare for healthcare workers: Childcare workers will provide care for the children of essential healthcare workers in the healthcare worker's home. Full details will be announced before 18 May.
Opening of schools and colleges: School and college buildings will be opened for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of remote learning.
People who work outdoors: A phased return of outdoor workers (for example: construction workers, gardeners, including people working on allotments) will be allowed. Social distancing requirements continue to apply.
Remote working: Remote working is to continue for all workers or businesses that can currently do so.
Shops and other commercial businesses
Outdoor shops: Shops that are primarily outdoor (for example: garden centres, hardware stores, farmers' markets) can reopen so long as social distancing measures can be put in place.
Shops that can reopen: Shops that were previously open in Tier 2 (for example: homeware, opticians, motor, bicycle and repair, office products, electrical, IT, phone sales and repair) can open.
Sport and tourism
Outdoor spaces: Outdoor spaces and tourism sites (for example: car parks, beaches, mountain walks) will be opened where people can move around freely and where social distancing can be maintained.
Public sports grounds: Public sport amenities (for example: pitches, tennis courts, golf courses) can be opened where social distancing can be maintained.
Group exercise: People can exercise - either on their own or in a group of no more than 4 people - where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact with other people.
If all goes according to plan, Phase 2 will launch on June 8.
Coronavirus in Ireland one week from reopening
In a press briefing on Monday, May 11, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan said: "As we approach May 18, the next date highlighted in the government’s roadmap, we continue to monitor key parameters associated with COVID-19. These include the number of new cases, numbers admitted to hospital and currently in ICU, and the number of deaths."
As of May 11, there were 23,125 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland. 2,998 (13 percent) of those cases required hospitalization and of those 2,998, 383 were admitted to the ICU. There have been 1,467 coroanvirus-related deaths in the Republic of Ireland.
Referencing a poll that was conducted by Ireland's Department of Health on May 11, Dr. Holohan added: "While 43% of the population believe the worst of this pandemic is behind us, the virus is still circulating, the risk is still there in our communities. The health service will continue to prepare and respond to the virus, the public are asked to stay the course and keep up the progress we have made."
Elsewhere in the survey that polled 1,270 adults in Ireland, the Department of Health found levels of compliance with public health advice "remain high:"
- 95 percent of people are washing their hands more often
- 90 percent maintain social distancing while in queues
- 78 percent are coughing into their elbows
- 71 percent are disposing of used tissues immediately
- 71 percent intend to use sanitiser, up from 59 percent one month ago
- 61 percent intend on sitting further apart from others when outside or on public transport, up from 36 percent one month ago
- 34 percent intend on staying at home rather than going out, up from 16 percent one month ago