Ireland to enter Phase 2 of lifting restrictions: PM

Ireland will move to Phase 2 of the ‘Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business’ from June 8 as scheduled, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced.

In the announcement on Friday, he said that the originally planned five phases in reopening Ireland’s social and economic lives will be shortened to four phases due to the progress made in suppressing the coronavirus pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

This means that certain sectors and public amenities can open earlier than previously planned.

Under the new arrangements in Phase 2, people are allowed to travel within their county, or up to 20 km from their home instead of the previous 5 km limit.

Indoor and outdoor gathering of up to six people or outdoor sporting activities involving no more than 15 people will be permitted so long the 2-metre social distancing requirement is met.

The maximum number of people attending a funeral will be raised to 25 from 10.

All retail stores can reopen, but opening times will be staggered to relieve pressure on public transport.

Shopping centres can reopen on June 15 provided that measures have been taken to ensure people do not congregate at benches, fountains or food courts.

Shops are also required to provide dedicated hours for those who are aged above 70 or medically vulnerable.

Public libraries, playgrounds and marts will also reopen to public and greyhound racing can resume without spectators.

Working from home should remain the norm for those who can do so and people can return to work provided their work can be done safely while staying 2 metres away from others.

Varadkar also said that in Phase 3 which is scheduled to commence on June 29, the country will reopen its domestic tourism.

By then, hotels, restaurants, bars that also operate as restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums as well as places of worship in the country will also reopen to public, he said.

Ireland reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 at the very end of February.

To date, the country has reported a total of 25,163 confirmed cases and 1,670 deaths.

Statisitics from the Irish Department of Health showed that over the last nine consecutive days the country’s single-day death toll had remained under a single-digit level.

Ireland imposed a nationwide lockdown at the end of March and started to ease the lockdown measures from May 18 when the government began to implement its Phase 1 plan to restart the country.

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