‘Hope, excitement and relief’ as Ireland braces for vast reopening

The Taoiseach said the feeling of “hope, excitement and relief” is palpable when he confirmed the country’s widespread reopening over the summer.

Micheal Martin said that while the end of the pandemic is “within our grasp”, he urged the public to “remain vigilant against the terrible virus”.

As Mr Martin unveiled the government’s plans in June, July and August, he said reopening society and the economy will depend on Irish adherence to the guidelines in place.

Speaking at government buildings in Dublin, Mr Martin confirmed that on June 2, hotels, guesthouses, guest houses and self-catering accommodation will reopen.

On June 7, outdoor services in bars and restaurants will reopen with cinemas and theaters.

On the same date, up to 200 people can attend outdoor events in venues with a minimum capacity of 5,000 people, and up to 100 people can attend other outdoor events.

Driver theory test services and a gradual reopening of driver test centers will also reopen.

There will also be a number of pilot sporting and cultural events taking place in June and early July, to test the logistical needs for a new reopening.

From July 5, Inner Hospitality will reopen while Indoor Events will resume, with a maximum of 100 attendees in the Large Venues and 50 in all others.

There will be a further increase in the number of participants in outdoor events, while indoor exercises and sports activities will return.

From July 5, up to 50 guests will be able to attend wedding receptions.

From August 5, the number of participants in indoor events will increase further, with 200 in the large venues and 100 in all others.

A further increase in the number of participants in outdoor events.

The 50% capacity restriction on public transport will be lifted and up to 100 people will be able to attend weddings.

Mr Martin said Ireland was taking “concrete steps to once again enjoy normal times with friends and relatives”.

He said: “We are almost back to a point where we can just enjoy the ordinary and extraordinary times in our life. The feeling of hope, excitement and relief is palpable.

“But as we watch what’s going on around the world, of course we know we need to stay vigilant against this terrible virus. We know there were many twists and turns in this trip.

“I have often spoken of the strength of solidarity and the fact that managing the pandemic must be a collective effort.

“This coming month may be the most important test of that spirit that we have faced since the start of this ordeal.”

He added, “We all want to get out of the restrictions, but it will require that each of us, as individuals, business owners, arts and sports officials, friends, neighbors and family, respect the guidelines that are still in place for the coming period. “

The Taoiseach also confirmed that international travel with the European Union will return from July 19.

He said: “I understand the importance of our aviation and tourism sectors – international connectivity is critical to the success and place of this country in the world, and many jobs and livelihoods across the world. countries depend on it.

“I understand the pent-up desire of so many people to take a break abroad or to welcome friends and family from abroad.

“But I also understand very clearly the need to get it right and ensure that we restore international travel in a safe and sustainable manner.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly leaves Dublin Castle (Brian Lawless / PA)

“At my last meeting with EU leaders last week, we confirmed our support for EU Covid digital certificates for travel within the EU. Today in government we have agreed to fully implement this program from July 19.

“This will make it easier to return to international travel in accordance with clear security protocols.”

The announcement comes after Cabinet approved a series of plans to reopen the company and the economy.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that while there will be a “significant reopening” of the company in the next two months, he has warned the public to be careful.

Speaking to the media as he left Cabinet, Mr Ryan told the PA News Agency: “We still have to be careful, I’ll be honest.

“The risk is low to medium, that’s how health officials put it.

“It’s always on my mind, you have to be careful.

“Every week, between 200,000 and 300,000 more people receive their first or second vaccine, which will give us protection.

“But we still only have about half of the adult population that has had their first and about 20% will have their second by the end of this week.

Coronavirus - Fri May 28, 2021
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris leaves Dublin Castle following Cabinet meeting (Brian Lawless / PA)

“It’s great, but the higher it goes, the safer we are, so I’m always careful.

“This is an important reopening, there is no doubt about it.”

He said the government had assessed the threat posed by the Indian variant in recent days.

“We’re going to create a special group to review it and keep an eye on it.

“This is the real risk, we have seen in the past that variations can change the situation, so we will have to be careful.

“What’s been really interesting is how stable he’s been over the last three months, he’s been at that 400 level.

“Hospitalizations resumed last week, but they’ve gone down again, and we need to keep an eye on them.”

There were 467 more confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Friday, the health ministry said.

There are currently 99 people in hospitals with the disease, 38 of them in intensive care units.

Daily case counts may change due to future data review, validation and update, due to HSE cyberattack.

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