Although April 5th was marked as the date for easing of restrictions, Government have now changed it to the 12th. The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) warned that reopening too much, too fast will risk a fourth wave of the virus. It has advised a cautious reopening over the next four to eight weeks, to allow the vaccine programme to ramp up and reduce the risk of another surge.
Yesterday evening, Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed the nation and outlined what freedoms people can expect to return from next month and the roadmap beyond that.
Here are the key points surrounding the easing of restrictions starting next month:
- April 12th: Extending the five-kilometre exercise limit to a county-wide limit. You can also travel within 20km of your residence if crossing county boundaries.
- April 12th: Two fully vaccinated people permitted to meet indoors, and two households permitted to meet outdoors;
- April 12th: All school students will return to classrooms. Early Learning and Childcare and school aged childcare services will be added to list of essential services for construction activity during these restrictions to align with the current exemption to primary and secondary schools;
- April 12th: A partial resumption of construction will begin with the return of 5,000 home building workers;
- April 19th: The return of elite athletics and GAA. Training for and playing of National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult intercounty National Gaelic Games Leagues, not including under 20 or minor competitions;
- April 19th: Certain high performing athletes as approved by Sport Ireland, in a range of sports will be allowed to train.
- April 26th: Resuming some sporting activities including tennis, golf and under 18 training;
- April 26th: Reopening of zoos and heritage sites;
- May 4th: Reopening of museums and galleries;
- May: A phased return of personal services such as hairdressers, retail and click-and-collect services, and the remainder of construction.
The recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis will also be considered when the Government reassesses the restrictions again in May.
At the briefing yesterday, the Taoiseach said: “More than 800,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered.
“That means that we have given vaccines the first vaccination to those over 80, to frontline healthcare workers, and we are making good progress with the most medically vulnerable.
“This has allowed us to move to the next phase and begin vaccinating people over 65, and people with underlying medical conditions.
“By the middle of April, all over 70s will have had their first dose, and mid to late May all over 70s will be fully vaccinated.”
The Taoiseach said close to three million doses will be administered by the end of May, nearly five million doses by early July and six million doses by the end of July,
Ending on a more optimistic tone he said “We are on the final stretch of this terrible journey. This summer, our businesses and our public services will safely reopen.