By Steve Neville
The Government has published a “roadmap to ease restrictions”.
It comes following the Taoiseach’s announcement that the country will begin to reopen from May 18.
The Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place until that date.
However, Leo Varadkar has announced that the 2km exercise restriction will be extended to 5km from May 5.
Mr Varadkar also announced that people over 70 who are cocooning will be allowed to go out, from May 5.
However, they are encouraged to continue cocooning.
After “two more weeks of tight restrictions” the country will begin to reopen in five three-week phases.
The Government said they want to reopen the country in a “slow phased way”.
A statement said: “Each phase consists of a menu of options” that will be considered by the Government “as it gradually opens up economic and social activities.”
Examples of the types of actions which will be considered under the various phases include:
Phase 1 (May 18)
Phase 2 (June 8)
Phase 3 (June 29)
Phase 4 (July 20)
Phase 5 (August 10)
The Government said that the roadmap “also sets out a framework for future decision making, which will at all times be underpinned by public health advice”.
They “will regularly assess the following criteria as we seek to keep the level of transmission low” while the economy gradually restarts:
The Cabinet is due to meet tomorrow “to agree a further package of measures to help our businesses to restart, reconnect and rehire staff who have been laid off or furloughed.”
A Government statement said that: “The risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present.
“As a country, we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase.
“There will be a long-term need for physical distancing, for good hand hygiene, for respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning and for people to stay at home and isolate if they are sick.
“However, the Government is very conscious that there are significant consequences of social distancing measures.
“The normal structures of daily life – work, school, sport, entertainment – have temporarily ceased to exist and even as we re-open society, we will be living our daily lives in modified ways for as long as we live with this pandemic.”