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Leaving lockdown: All you need to know about Phase One of Ireland's roadmap


It emerged that hardware shops and garden centres can open under laws signed by Health Minister Simon Harris

It emerged that hardware shops and garden centres can open under laws signed by Health Minister Simon Harris

It emerged that hardware shops and garden centres can open under laws signed by Health Minister Simon Harris

New guidelines will come into place from tomorrow as Phase One of the government's roadmap for reopening society and business begins.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed it is "safe to proceed" with the first phase of reopening Ireland's society and economy from the coronavirus restrictions.

But what does Phase One of easing lockdown restrictions actually entail?

Under the new guidelines starting tomorrow, people can leave their home for a wider range of reasons and will be able to meet in small groups outdoors.

Personal activities

You can leave your home to buy food, attend medical appointments, get out for exercise and to socialise in small groups, while social distancing.

Groups of up to four people who are not from the same household will be allowed to meet outdoors within 5km of their homes starting tomorrow, as long as strict social distancing is maintained with all people keeping at least 2 metres apart.

Those that are cocooning are asked to continue to follow the public health advice to stay at home as much as possible and avoid physical contact with other people, except to leave home for exercise or a drive up to 5 kilometres.

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Reopening of amenities

Outdoor public amenities and tourism sites like parks, beaches, mountain walks, heritage and cultural sites can reopen, along with outdoor sports facilities like pitches, tennis courts and golf courses.

People are allowed to practice non-contact sport or fitness activities in groups of up to four people within 5km of their homes.

School and college buildings can also reopen for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of learning materials.


Anyone who can work from home is asked to continue to do so, but from tomorrow a phased return to work for outdoor workers will begin - this includes construction workers and gardeners.

Retailers that mainly operate outdoor can reopen from tomorrow, meaning that some garden centres and hardware stores will be back in operation.

Hardware stores, builders’ merchants and shops that provide hardware products necessary for home and business maintenance, sanitation and farm equipment or supplies and tools essential for gardening, farming or agriculture are also allowed to reopen.

So will retailers of office products and services for people working from home. Businesses and retailers providing electrical, IT products and phone sales will reopen, as well as repair and maintenance services for home and businesses.

Stores involved in the sale, supply and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycle repair and related facilities can also reopen.

All stores reopening are subject to social distancing, however, and where this is not possible, the retailers are not permitted to reopen.

Health services

Non-essential surgery, health procedures and other non-essential health services are still postponed and all visits to hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings or prisons are stopped with specific exemptions on compassionate grounds.

Pharmacists are allowed by law to dispense medicines outside the dates spelled out in prescriptions according to their own professional judgement

Opticians and optometrists, as well as outlets providing hearing test services or selling hearing aids and appliances may also reopen.

Transport and travel

The nationwide restriction on travel outside of 5km from your home remains in place.

Public transport and passenger travel is restricted to those who are buying food or medicine, carers, and people going to medical appointments as well as essential workers.

Travel to Ireland's offshore islands is permitted only to residents of those islands.

Phase 2 - June 8

Under the roadmap for reopening society and business, June 8 is earmarked for Phase 2 of an easing of restrictions.

According to the Government however, "they are just an indication of what might happen if everything goes well with restricting the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland" and certain criteria must first be met before each phase can be rolled out.

There is also an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed.

In Phase 2, the 5km travel limit will be increased to 20km from your home. Gatherings of up to four people from separate households will then be able to take place inside and there will be dedicated hours when people cocooning will be able to go into shops. They will also be allowed a small number of visitors to their house.

Other amendments to the restrictions include larger funerals and a greater return to business and sport.

These measures will only come into place when the National Public Health Emergency Team says that the conditions are right for more relaxation of the restrictions in place to protect us all.

Before each Government consideration of the easing of restrictions, the Department of Health will provide a report to the Government with the latest data regarding the progression of the disease, the capacity and resilience of the health service in terms of hospital and ICU occupancy, the capacity of the programme of sampling, testing and contact tracing, the ability to shield and care for at risk groups and an assessment of the risk of secondary morbidity and mortality as a consequence of the restrictions.

It will also provide risk-based public health advice on what measures could be modified in the next period.

The Government would then consider what restrictions could be lifted, having regard to the advice of the Department of Health as well as other social and economic considerations, like the potential for increased employment, relative benefits for citizens and businesses, improving national morale and wellbeing.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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