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The statue of Fr. Mathew with a mask at St. Patrick's Street, Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.
The statue of Fr. Mathew with a mask at St. Patrick's Street, Cork.Picture Denis Minihane.
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Stunning video captures how our lives changed in Cork during coronavirus lockdown

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed the country will begin reopening on Monday after an unprecedented lockdown that asked all citizens to sacrafice our freedoms.

From abandoned streets, vacant businesses, empty parks and beaches, cocooning elderly, the last two months have changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined.

It will be a period of history to be studied for decades to come, involving the biggest change to human behaviour since war and famine. 

Here, photographer Denis Minihane compiles images and video that archive this extraordinary time.

The Government, on the advice of National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), last night said it is safe to proceed with phase one of the reopening roadmap.

Mr Varadkar has urged the public to wear face coverings when on public transport and in enclosed spaces.

"We are bound together in this great national effort and we must rely on each other."

From Monday, the public will be able to meet small groups of four people outside while keeping two metres apart.

"Some, mainly in outdoor work, will be able to start work again, for example construction work, gardeners and people tending to allotments," he added.

"Some more stores will reopen and you will be able to shop again in garden centres, hardware stores, and farmers' markets, or get your eyes tested or your car, motorbike or bicycle fixed.

"As part of your daily exercise you will be able to play a game of tennis, or a round of golf, exercise and fitness classes outdoors in small groups of up to four people, once you don't travel beyond 5km to do so.

"Some public amenities such as public beaches and mountain walks will reopen.

"In every single case it is vital that we maintain a physical distance of 2 metres."