Ireland lays out road map for recovery
Restoration of economic and social activity will take place in five stages starting 18 May
- May 02, 2020 16:00
The Irish government has set out a road map to relaunch society and the economy in five stages, three weeks apart, starting 18 May. Speaking to the nation last night, PM Leo Varadkar made it clear that the Irish can only move from one phase to the next if the coronavirus can be kept in check.
Much has been done to flatten the curve of infections, but to weaken the virus further, the current restrictions must be extended until 18 May, said Varadkar, quoted by public broadcaster RTÉ. He said some counties will be able to lift some of the restrictions earlier than others depending on the local epidemic situation.
Cocooning seniors can go out, exercise radius extended
As early as 5 May, people aged over 70s who have been cocooning (observing strict self-isolation) can go outside their homes provided they avoid all human contact, including shopping. Also, from Tuesday, the current 2km physical exercise limit from one’s home will be extended to 5km.
18 May will mark the reopening of some retail outlets such as optitians, garden centres, hardware stores and repair shops. Outdoor workers will be able to return to their jobs in a phased way.
Small group-outdoor sporting activities will be given the green light. It will be possible to meet friends and family in small groups in the open, the PM promised, adding that many regular health services will resume operation.
In later stages, childcare facilities, catering establishments, cinemas and gyms will reopen. Schools and colleges however will stay shut until the start of the academic year in September/October 2020.
Further business support measures to be announced
Today the Cabinet will be discussing further measures to support the economy. Speaking on a TV show last night, Leo Varadkar indicated that unemployment and wage supports put in place as a result of Covid-19 restrictions will be extended. Neither the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme nor the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment can last forever, but it would not be right to unwind it before those sectors can actually reopen, noted Varadkar, quoted by RTE.
According to the Prime Minister, a national protocol is now in the making, which would enable a gradual restart of economic activity while protecting workers from contracting the disease.
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