Government set to announce staged reopening of society but warn if Covid spikes occur 'we'll have to adapt'

Government set to announce staged reopening of society but warn if Covid spikes occur 'we'll have to adapt'

A staged and incremental reopening of society next month offers Ireland a pathway out of the Covid-19 pandemic, Simon Coveney has said. Pic: Julien Behal.

A staged and incremental reopening of society next month offers Ireland a pathway out of the Covid-19 pandemic, Simon Coveney has said.

A raft of plans to be signed off by Cabinet on Thursday includes allowing cross-country travel from May 10, which will also see the reopening of hairdressers and click-and-collect retail services.

Three households can also meet outdoors in private gardens, while a vaccinated household can meet those who are unvaccinated indoors.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the reopening is in line with public health advice.

"I think today is one of those moments when hope will start breaking through amongst society in Ireland, that there is a pathway out of this awful pandemic that we've been experiencing now for over a year.

"It's staged, it's incremental, it's consistent with public health advice, but it is very hopeful.

"What we're talking about now is staging decisions on the 10th of May, on the 17th of May, June 2, June 7.

"We can gradually move towards releasing people from the restrictions that they've been living within in their families and their businesses, their ability to be able to move around.

"We're doing so in a way that I think shows that the gathering of pace within our vaccine programme, and the public's understanding of Covid, and how to protect themselves from it, allow us to be able to move in a more hopeful direction."

Simon Coveney warned that Ireland will have to adapt to any changes in the virus.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said: "If we do see a spike, or if we see something that's unexpected in terms of a new variant, or how this virus is behaving, well then, of course, we'll have to adapt to that.

"But as the Taoiseach has said and as the Tanaiste has reinforced over and over again, this time we want to make sure that, as we go forward, in terms of easing restrictions, we don't have to go back again.

"People will in May look forward to being able to have their neighbours outdoors in the gardens, for adults that want to go training again they'll be able to do it, personal services like hairdressers by appointment will be possible again in a few weeks' time.

"People will be able to go back to religious services, and intercountry travel will be possible for the first time in months.

"I hope we will be able to manage all of that change in a way that's responsible, and as keeps a lid on the spread of this virus."

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