Taoiseach Micheál Martin has this evening announced the phased easing of some restrictions for the month of April.
Speaking this evening, he said that living under strict Level 5 restrictions “has been and continues to be exceptionally difficult” but that by adhering to such restrictions people have saved lives.
The Taoiseach announced a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to commence on April 12, which will continue until a substantial level of vaccination has been achieved, at which point the country will move to reopen society more widely.
From April 12, there will be a full return to in-school teaching. Two households can meet up with one another outdoors for social and recreational purposes but does not include private gardens.
Travel restrictions will be relaxed to enable travel within peoples’ own county or within 20km of residence if crossing county boundaries and all residential construction projects can recommence.
Early Learning and Childcare and school-aged childcare services will be added to the list of essential services for construction activity during these restrictions to align with the current exemption to primary and secondary schools (where school building projects are progressing) and to allow important fire safety works to progress.
From April 19, the expansion of elite sports will include training for and playing of National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult intercounty National Gaelic Games Leagues, not including under 20 or minor competitions, and certain high-performing athletes as approved by Sport Ireland, in a range of sports.
From April 26, subject to the prevailing public health situation, outdoor sports facilities can reopen, including golf courses and tennis courts, and outdoor visitor attractions can reopen.
Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 can recommence for all exercise activities that can be delivered outdoors including dance and maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25 on compassionate grounds.
Also from late April, those who have the full protection of the vaccine may visit indoors with one other household who also has full protection.
Government’s community support, well-being programmes, employment and business support continue, with the EWSS, PUP and Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit will be applicable to June 30.
The measures announced today will continue up to the 4th of May, at which point the full re-opening of construction activity, phased return of non-essential retail, recommencement of Personal Services on a staggered basis, reopening of museums, galleries and libraries and the recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis will be considered.