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Varadkar expects plan for 'staged lifting of restrictions' to be ready by end of April

By James Fenton

April 20, 2020 at 4:40pm

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Leo Varadkar has stated that he expects a plan for a staged lifting of lockdown restrictions to be in place by the end of April or beginning of May.

Speaking today at the Civil Defence headquarters on Wolfe Tone Quay, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the government was working on a plan for the staged lifting of restrictions which are in place in order to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Current restrictions are due to expire on Tuesday, May 5 and include measures such as limiting exercise to within 2km of a person's home as well as the provision that only those whose jobs are deemed essential should be traveling for work purposes.

Today, Varadkar said: "What we’re working on at the moment is a plan that will be ready by the end of April to early May in advance of the May 5th big day, if you like."

He added that "what we hope to set out is a step-wise plan which indicates how we would reopen the country in different steps and what are the criteria that would have to be met to move from one stage to the next.”

Health Minister Simon Harris indicated over the weekend that he does not envisage the sight of packed pubs until a vaccine is found, leading to the Licensed Vintners Association saying that this would be a "nightmare scenario” for the industry. However, Varadkar said today that "it is impossible to say at this time" when pubs will be able to open.

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