The country is poised for a summer comeback.
Now An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has laid out the next important dates in Ireland’s reopening plan, with good news for retail, hairdressers, and construction and some light at the end of the tunnel for Ireland’s lockdown-weary population.
In a much-anticipated TV address, Martin unveiled a raft of optimistic guidance green-lit by NPHET and signed off by the Cabinet this afternoon.
While all plans are contingent on Covid-19 levels remaining stable through May, five months after closing under the last lockdown, pubs and restaurants can start planning to reopen their outdoor tables in June, with hair salons and barbers throwing open the shutters from May 10th.
“We now believe it is safe to continue moving forward in two phases,” Martin said.
“I understand how difficult it has been for business and workers, and the huge desire there is for people just to make a living again”.
Here are the key dates announced tonight:
- The remaining construction sites can reopen.
- The ban on inter-county travel will be lifted on May 10th, 2021.
- People from three households can meet up outdoors and in private gardens. A vaccinated person can meet a non-vaccinated person indoors.
- Hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons can reopen.
- All retailers can introduce click and collect shopping.
- Libraries and galleries can reopen
- Property agents can host in-person viewings.
- Driving lessons are back and public transport will increase to 50% capacity.
- Up to 50 people can worship at religious sites and attend funerals, christenings and wedding ceremonies.
- Wedding parties: Six guests will be allowed at an indoor wedding reception or 15 at an outdoor celebration.
- All non-essential retail stores can reopen fully on May 17th.
- Hotels , B&Bs and guesthouses will reopen on June 2nd, officially kicking off Ireland’s tourism season for 2021. Hotel residents will be allowed to eat and drink indoors.
- Outdoor dining can resume on June 7th, when beer gardens will be permitted to reopen too. The wildly unpopular €9 ‘substantial meal’ rule will be scrapped.
- Two households can mix indoors.
- Swimming pools and gyms can reopen for individual training (no classes allowed).
- Cinemas can reopen
- Sports will return with no spectators.
- While no date has been decided on the return of indoor dining, it is believed that customers could be allowed to eat inside by July or August.
Later this year
A number of “higher-risk” activities will be considered for later in the year. These include indoor hospitality and team sports, mass gatherings and international travel.