IRELAND enters Phase Three of lockdown as of today as the nation begins a slow, but hopefully steady, easing of restrictions.
The government approved the country entering Phase Three last Thursday with outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making the official announcement that evening.
From today, a number of businesses and facilities, which have been closed since lockdown began in March, will be reopening their doors to the public, including:
- Pubs (only those that can serve food)
- Creches/Childcare facilities
- Beauty salons
Meanwhile, other coronavirus-related restrictions have been eased or lifted entirely:
- Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted
- Sporting activity can resume
- Gatherings of up to 50 people allowed indoors
- Gatherings of up to 200 people allowed outdoors
Don't expect life to fully return to normal just yet though. Despite the mass reopening of society, face masks are recommended for the public while shopping and going anywhere where it might be difficult to properly socially distance.
Meanwhile, wearing masks on public transport is a mandatory requirement, with the capacity of services now increasing to 50%.
Despite transport restrictions around Ireland effectively being lifted, people are still being encouraged to walk or cycle wherever possible, and only to use public transport for essential journeys.
The government has advised the public to observe measures under the acronym DATE, standing for Distance, Activity, Time and Environment.
- D - staying two metres away from others where possible
- A - wash hands regularly, and wear face coverings in crowded areas
- T - be conscious of the length of time you spend with another person
- E - be aware of poorly ventilated areas
The next milestone to look out for will be July 9, where the government is expected to announce the so-called 'green list' of countries where Irish citizens are allowed to fly to without having to self-isolate for 14 days.
On July 20, providing there are no unforeseen changes, the pubs which do not serve food are expected to reopen.