Ireland is just days away from the potential start of Phase 2 of its roadmap to reopen the economy and society that was first published on May 1.
Update June 5, 11:35 am EST: The Irish government today announced that not only will Phase 2 launch this coming Monday, June 8, but the entire roadmap scheme to reopen Ireland's society and economy will be accelerated. You can read more about it here.
The following was published on June 4:
Ireland's roadmap is a five-phased plan to roll-back restrictions that were put in place to help manage the spread of coronavirus in Ireland.
Officials have reiterated that the roadmap is a “living” document and can and will be adjusted in accordance with public health guidance.
Read More: Coronavirus live updates
Phase 1 was launched in Ireland on Monday, May 18. Gardai said this week that they are still encountering a "high level of compliance." Authorities this week, while not definitively saying yes or no, seem to indicate that Ireland is in a good position to enter Phase 2 next week.
Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team is expected to sign off by tomorrow on whether or not Phase 2 can be enacted from Monday, June 8.
Following the launch of Phase 2 on Monday, Phase 3 is scheduled to begin June 29, Phase 4 for July 20, and Phase 5 for August 10.
Read More: Ireland COVID rules could be eased due to drop in coronavirus cases
According to the current version of the roadmap, here are the measures that are set to come into effect on Monday, June 8 in Ireland if NPHET gives the okay:
Public Health Measures
Stay at Home: The advice will be to still avoid unnecessary journeys wherever possible.
You will be able to travel up to 20 kilometres away from your home as opposed to the 5 kilometre limit which was in place since 5 May. (In a separate statement, the National Transport Authority said that it plans to reintroduce its normal Monday-Friday timetables from June 8. At present, public transport is for essential journeys only.)
Social Visits: Up to 4 people may visit another household for a short period of time but everyone must keep at least 2 metres apart from people they don't live with.
Cocooning: Shops will provide dedicated hours for those who are cocooning (people over the age of 70 and those who are medically vulnerable) with strict social distancing and gloves made available. Shoppers should ideally wear face coverings.
Those who are cocooning can have a small number of visitors to their home. The visitors must wear gloves, face coverings, and keep at least 2 metres away from the person who is cocooning.
Funerals: A slightly larger number of people can be in attendance at funerals but numbers will still be restricted to immediate family and close friends and limited to a maximum number of mourners (this number will be announced closer to 8 June) for a limited period of time where social distancing can be maintained.
People who can work safely while maintaining a 2-metre distance from others
Workers, like those who work on their own, as well as other workers who can keep a 2 metre distance from others, can return to work. Social distancing requirements continue to apply.
Plans to be put in place by employers and the government: Organisations are to develop plans for a return to onsite working by employees in light of COVID-19, considering:
- social distancing compliance
- hygiene and cleaning
- compliance in higher-risk situations
- plans for medically vulnerable or pregnant people
- extended opening hours to enable social distancing
Remote working: Remote working is to continue for all workers or businesses that can currently do so.
Shops and Other Commercial Businesses
Shops that can reopen: Small retail outlets can reopen with a small number of staff on the basis that the retailer can control the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any one time.
Marts: Marts can be opened where social distancing can be maintained.
Sports, Tourism, and Culture
Libraries: Public libraries may open so long as the numbers allowed in are limited, social distancing is observed and there is strict hand-sanitising in place for anyone who goes into the library.
Group exercise: People can take part in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, involving team sports training in small groups (but not matches) where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact.