BREAKING: Delight in Limerick as Taoiseach announces fast-tracking of lockdown easing

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

BREAKING: Delight in Limerick as Taoiseach announces fast-tracking of lockdown easing

New measures: An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

SHOPPING centres in Limerick and around the country will be able to re-open on Monday week, June 15, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced.

Following a cabinet meeting today, the Fine Gael leader has also confirmed that all shops which are not based in centres will be allowed to re-open after the Covid-19 lockdown from this Monday morning.

Pubs and bars are being allowed to open six weeks earlier, so long as they serve food and can implement table service.

Along with hotels, pubs and bars will be able to re-open on June 29. While places of worship can resume services on this date.

However, hairdressers will not be allowed re-open until the final phase on July 20, Mr Varadkar said.

Strict guidelines and measures will remain in place, with retailers asked to use "staggered hours" to avoid public transport being overcrowded at peak times. Shops will not be allowed to open before 10.30am. They will also be asked to allow for allocated shopping times for vulnerable and older people.

Those working from home are being asked to continue to do so, where possible. Social distancing requirements will be in place in all workplaces. Face covering are now advised in indoor work settings where social distancing is not possible.

All this comes amid a speeding up of the easing of lockdown restrictions, which previously would not have seen shopping centres alowed open until at least August 10.

Playgrounds once supervised will be allowed re-open this Monday, while summer camps can also be held once no more than 15 people are mixing together.

Athletes can return to training and greyhound racing can resume without spectators. Also this Monday, libraries are back open, while groups of six can meet both indoors and outdoors so long as they keep two metres apart.

Travel restrictions will be relaxed, meaning people will be able to travel anywhere in their own county, or 20km from their homes whichever is greater.

Phase three, beginning on June 29, will see all domestic travel restrictions lifted, Mr Varadkar told the media at a press conference this Friday afternoon.

The announcement was expected after the number of new coronavirus cases, hospital and intensive care admissions declined since the commencement of phase one on May 18.

Asked why he was able to speed up the roadmap, Mr Varadkar says it's because data is going in the right direction.

Due to this acceleration, there will now be just four phases, instead of five.

Those working from home are being asked to continue to do so, where possible. Social distancing requirements will be in place in all workplaces. Face covering are now advised in indoor work settings where social distancing is not possible.

The final phase kicks in on July 20 as opposed to August 10.