Two more weeks: 'On May 18, Ireland will begin to reopen' 

Two more weeks: 'On May 18, Ireland will begin to reopen' 
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar walking down the steps of Government Buildings Dublin before he addressing the public on steps to ease the existing Covid-19 restrictions. Photo leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The Taoiseach has this evening announced that current restrictions which were put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus are to remain in place until May 18.

A number of changes to the restrictions have been announced however.

Amongst the changes are:

- The 2km limit to get personal exercise is to be extended to 5km from next Tuesday.

- Those aged over 70 are advised to continue cocooning, but they may go for a walk or drive within 5km of home once they avoid contact with all other people.

Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Taoiseach has also set out a roadmap of when COVID-19 restrictions may be eased.

This will take place over five phases and he said that we can only move to the next phase if the COVID-19 situation is under control.

In the first phase on May 18, outdoor workers can return to work. This includes construction workers Some retail outlets will open including DIY stores.

Some outdoor sporting activities involving small groups will resume.

It will be possible to meet small groups of friends and families outdoors.

In later phases other facilities will re-open.

“Many regular health services will resume operating and it will be possible to meet small groups of friends and family outdoors,” Leo Varadkar said.

“Not long from now, some summer night, we will see our friends again.

“In later phases other workplaces, businesses, childcare, preschools, restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms will reopen.

“Schools and colleges will reopen in September/October at the start of the new academic year."

The Cabinet is due to meet again tomorrow "to agree further actions to help our businesses to restart, reconnect and rehire staff who’ve been laid off or furloughed.”

Earlier today, it was announced that 34 more people with Covid-19 have died.

There have now been a total of 1,265 deaths in Ireland There are also 221 new cases of coronavirus in the country.

The total number of cases now stands at 20,833.

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