Reopening the country... Taoiseach announces an acceleration to the end of lockdown measures

Reopening the country... Lockdown to ease sooner than expected

The country is set to open up from lockdown sooner than expected as the Taoiseach announced measures this afternoon which will see some aspects of the 'roadmap' implemented sooner than originally stated.

There will now only be only four phases, with phase three on 29th June and phase four from 20th July.

All shops outside shopping centres can open from Monday, and the shopping centres can open on 15th June.

Trim Town amid the COVID-19 crisis 2020. Photograph by Enda Casey. Photographer: ENDA CASEY

From Monday over 70s and the vulnerable can welcome people to their homes. Also from Monday people can travel anywhere in their own county or 20km from their homes, whichever is the greater.

Phase three, beginning on 29 June, will see all domestic travel restrictions lifted.

From Monday groups of up to six can meet indoors or outdoors once they keep two metres apart.

Groups of up to 15 people can meet for outdoor sporting activities.

Playgrounds, once supervised, can reopen from Monday. Summer camps can also be held once no more 15 people mixing together.

Athletes can return to training and greyhound racing can resume without spectators.

Also from Monday, up to 25 people can attend funerals.

Hairdressers and barbers opening remains in Phase 4, 20th July.

Dr Holohan said there is no evidence to recommend less than two metres as a social distancing requirement.

NPHET will develop guidance for hospitality sector in coming days, he said.

The Taoiseach said Government decisions had been kept in line with public health advice.

The data is going in the right direction, the R number has stayed below one, there's a downward trend in the number of cases and the Government has watched what has happened in other countries.

He said "more an more this is going to be less about government rules and more about a long term change in how we live our lives".

On air corridors being implemented, Mr Varadkar said no date is in mind for air travel to resume. He said he would encourage people not to go booking flights.

Business Minister, Heather Humphreys said when we return to shops next week, it will not be the high street that we left behind.

“Customers should be prepared to queue, and are encouraged to shop locally.

Health Minister Simon Harris said non-Covid work is under way in hospitals.

The board of the HSE will consider a non-Covid plan in the coming days and the resumption of screening services are being considered.

He said there should be a clear timeline later this month.

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