BREAKING: Taoiseach announces lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced a lifting of some Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland from Monday, May 18, as part of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.
Speaking to the nation via a press conference on Friday evening, Mr Varadkar said the lifting of measures outlined in Phase 1 of that roadmap can now go ahead for the most part.
"It is safe to proceed with phase 1 of our roadmap for exiting Covid-19 restrictions. Today's announcement gives us reason for hope but is not cause for celebration," he said.
"To keep going forward, we need to stick to these guidelines as the restrictions ease. As they ease and we come in contact with more people, the virus has a better chance to spread."
People are told to stay at home unless going out for the following reasons:
- To go to work is if your workplace is open and you can't work from home
- To shop for items that you need
- To exercise within 5km of your home
- For medical reasons including the care of others
- To meet with friends and family within 5km, in groups of no more than four (while social distancing)
Garden centres, hardware stores and farmers markets will re-open from May 18, as well as mechanics and opticians. Golf and tennis are the first sports to be allowed re-open but people can only avail of these outlets if they are within 5km of their home. Some homeware stores will not re-open despite some announcing they would do so this week. This was as a result of confusion caused by the wording in the roadmap outlined two weeks ago.
The key point reiterated by the Taoiseach is that the 5km travel restriction remains in place and people should stay at home except for essential journeys. The 5km limit applies to exercise as well as non-essential journeys, which means people will not be able to meet in groups of four or avail of the new businesses and club re-openings unless they fall within that distance from their homes.
The Taoiseach also advised the use of face coverings when in crowded areas like retail outlets or public transport. The Taoiseach said the country is making progress and he hopes to return to the public on June 5 to move to Phase 2 of the roadmap out of restrictions. He said that would depend on how well people stick to the guidelines and limitations set out in Phase 1.
Hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette and social distancing are still the main public health measures aimed at halting the spread of the virus. People are urged to re-double their efforts with these measures.
You can see the full details of Phase 1 below: