July 18, 2024

Getting back to normal: Government set to ease Covid-19 restrictions, small groups allowed to meet outside

The Taoiseach is today expected to announce the first significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions since the pandemic shut down the country.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) yesterday agreed to move into phase one of the plan to reopen the country. After the Cabinet signs off on its recommendation, the Taoiseach is set to announce a series of key changes to the current lockdown regime this evening.

One of these is likely to be the lifting of the ban on meeting people from outside your household. Small groups will be allowed to meet outside once a day. People will also be permitted to play golf and tennis.

It is expected outdoor workers and those working in construction and landscaping will be able to return to work while applying social distancing measures from Monday. However, the Government will stress this is strictly limited to outside workers and anyone working inside on construction sites will not be returning to work.

Hardware stores, garden centres, farmers’ markets and other shops that are primarily outdoors are also due to reopen under the Government’s roadmap. Others indue to reopen include homeware shops, opticians, garages, bicycle shops and stores that sell office products, electrical goods, IT and phones.

Mr Varadkar yesterday told the Dáil he was “increasingly confident” he would be able to begin lifting restrictions from next week as the rate of new infections and Covid-19 deaths continues to drop.

The Taoiseach and Health Minister Simon Harris will outline how restrictions will be lifted between 3pm and 4pm today.

It is expected the public will also be issued with new guidelines on the wearing of face masks or face coverings in public places.



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