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15th May 2020

Phase 1 given go-ahead as Leo updates nation on face coverings and the reopening of businesses

James Fenton

Leo Varakdar has told the nation that it is safe to proceed with phase one of the plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions from Monday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said during his address this afternoon that the beginning of phase one of the government’s roadmap to reopening Irish society on Monday, May 18 “gives us reason to hope but is not cause for celebration.”

While stressing that the message today is to “stay at home”, Varadkar outlined five things that the Irish public can do from Monday. They are:

  • Go to work if your workplace is open
  • Shop for necessary items
  • Go out for exercise within 5km
  • Go out for medical reasons
  • Meet friends or family in groups of up to four, outdoors and within 5km of your home

Varadkar also stated that face coverings should be worn when using busy public transport or in enclosed indoor public areas such as retail outlets. After news emerged earlier that homeware stores will not be on the list of businesses that will open on Monday, May 18, Leo Varadkar added that garden centres, farmers markets, hardware stores, opticians and vehicular repair shops will be allowed to reopen.

On the subject of exercise, Varadkar said that people will be allowed to play tennis and have a round of golf in small groups and within 5km of our homes.

He added that beaches and mountain walks will reopen but it is “vital to maintain a physical distance of two metres.”

Varadkar said that an update on phase two will be given on June 5, with a new phase set to begin every three weeks until August 10. However, he stressed that “everything is provisional and reversible.”

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