Charlesland Montessori
April 28, 2021
From There To Eternity
April 27, 2021

inister Stephen Donnelly this afternoon signed off on a series of lockdown lifts for the coming weeks.

With May 10th the starting point, travel outside your county, larger outdoor meet-ups, sports training and church services are back on the menu.

With Ministers having met this afternoon to approve the lockdown lifts, the official confirmation of the Cabinet sub-committee recommendations came at 6pm today.

Based on the criteria that the vaccine rollout will accelerate and infections are kept low, retail outlets will be allowed to operate a click & collect service from May 10th ahead of a further lift on restrictions on May 17th.

Also included in the May 10th lifts, intercounty travel will once again be allowed, personal services such as hairdressers will reopen by appointment, religious services will resume (though limited to 50 attendees), and training for sports can start again, in pods of 15 people max.

All going well, pubs and restaurants will be able to resume serving outdoors on June 7th, with hotels due to open on the 2nd. Gyms, swimming pools and outdoor sports matches will also resume on June 7th, the latter without spectators, for now, and the former two for individual training.

The Government were quick to point out that June’s planned reopenings would all be subject to the pandemic being under control.

There was also advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) that visitors from one other household would be allowed from June 7th, with the belief being that vaccinated households may be allowed visits by unvaccinated people by as soon as May 10th.

On the family gatherings front, outdoor meetings of up to 6 people from up to three households will be allowed from May 10th – including in private gardens, and with children under 12 not part of that count. Grandparents who have been vaccinated will be also be able to meet with grandchildren and other family members indoors, even if they haven’t been inoculated.

In regard to the arts, small outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people may be permitted from May 10th, whilst the reopening of museums, galleries and libraries on the same day comes with the NPHET advice that visitors to such venues should be “non-stationary”. When it comes to concerts and sports matches, it is understood that July or August is the timetable being considered.

For those getting married, up to 50 people will be allowed to attend the ceremony from next month, with only six permitted at indoor receptions, rising to 25 in June. And while weddings and funerals can take place with greater numbers, NPHET has advised that other religious ceremonies, such as communions and confirmations, will have to wait.

Also from May 10th, public transport will increase to 50% capacity (the current limit is 25%), whilst Irish Rail and Dublin Bus intend to return to full schedules next Tuesday.

With NPHET having surprisedMinisters with the scale of their recommendations – and going, as one put it, “a bit faster than might have been expected” – Minister For Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that the proposed changes were viewed as having a “low to moderate” risk level – but, “if the numbers spike, we will change the plan“.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Coveney stressed that the public still needed to be mindful of the risks posed by the disease.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re part way there…”