IRELAND IS 'on the way out' of the Covid-19 pandemic, Taoiseach Micheál Martin says.
When will Ireland's lockdown be lifted?
The Level 5 lockdown, in effect since late December, has taken its toll on the mentality of the Irish public, particularly as cases remain stubbornly high.
But Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday laid out the road map for easing restrictions, beginning with some small changes in April and continuing each month until life is relatively back to normal.
What changes are already in effect?
Starting from now, two people who have been fully vaccinated-- ie received two doses of the vaccine and waited 14 days after the final dose-- will be able to meet indoors, "allowing our oldest citizens who have had a particularly difficult year, to reconnect".
What restrictions will be lifted in April?
From 12 April, the 5 kilometre rule will be scrapped and people will be allowed to travel anywhere in their county, or 20km from their home, whichever is further, even if it means crossing a county border.
Also from 12 April, two people will be able to meet outdoors socially rather than for just exercise, however this must be in a public area and not a private garden.
A phased return to construction will begin on 12 April, starting with those involve in building houses and childcare facilities.
From 19 April, some sport and training can return, including senior inter-county GAA training to facilitate National League competition which will begin in May.
Training will also return for 'certain high performing athletes' who have been approved by Sport Ireland in a range of other sports on 19 April.
From 26 April, children can return to outdoor sports training, and golf and tennis will reopen for adults and children, and Ireland's outdoor attractions will reopen,such as zoos and wildlife parks like Dublin Zoo and Fota Island.
Also on 26 April, the number of mourners allowed to attend a funeral will rise from 10 to 25.
What restrictions will be lifted in Ireland in May?
The rollout of the vaccine is set to 'dramatically increase' in April, June and May, which should allow for a more significant easing of restrictions.
Speaking yesterday, the Taoiseach said that, from May, "we will look at a phased reopening of non-essential retail, personal services, all non-contact sports training, religious services, museums, galleries and libraries, and additional freedoms for those who are fully vaccinated".
Which restrictions will be lifted in Ireland in June?
By June, Micheál Martin said yesterday, hotels B&Bs and guesthouses may be allowed to reopen depending on the successful rollout of the vaccine and continued low numbers.
There was no mention made of hospitality such as pubs, restaurants or cafés..
Which restrictions will be lifted in Ireland in July and August?
While Mr Martin did not make any specific promises for July and August, but did indicate that the summer will see "our businesses and our public services ... safely reopen".
The later summer months will see the "vast majority" of the population vaccinated against the disease "allowing for significant opportunities to reopen even further".
"We will be able to travel within and enjoy our beautiful country again.