easing Covid-19 restrictions

  • Inter-county travel is set to return on Monday week next  the 10th of May as part of a sweeping easing of COVID restrictions.

    The Cabinet is due to meet this afternoon to sign off on plans to re-open most of the country for the summer.

    The first easing of measures will be next Tuesday when the entire construction sector can return to work.

    But May 10th will be the key day when a raft of COVID restrictions will be lifted including the inter-county travel ban.

    From the 10th, three households will be allowed to meet up in a back garden - or a maximum of 6 people from more than three households.

    Fully vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet one household of non-vaccinated people indoors - which in effect means people will be able to travel anywhere in the country and meet parents or grandparents from the 10th.

    That day religious services return with attendances capped at 50 - or more in bigger churches where space allows.

    Attendance at funerals and weddings will also rise to 50 - but the afters of a wedding will remain restricted to 6 people until June.

    Personal services like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will return on the 10th by appointment only.

    Public transport will also increase to 50% capacity while outdoor sports training for adults can resume.

    Driving tests and house viewings will also be permitted in May.

    The 10th will see the return of click and collect retail with the sector to open fully a week later on the 17th.

    The next easing of restrictions will come on June 2nd when hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will be allowed to re-open.

    However, pubs and restaurants will have to wait until after the Bank Holiday weekend to resume outdoor dining only from the 7th of June.

    No distinction will be made between gastropubs and so-called wet pubs - with the much maligned nine euro meal being scrapped.

    The 7th of June will also see the return of gyms for individual training only and outdoor sports matches will resume without spectators.



  • And as part of a further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions from today, buyers and sellers will be permitted to return to marts.

    Those attending marts will have to adhere strictly to public health guidelines, but the decision to allow buyers and sellers return to the mart ring will help the normal flow of trade in marts, along with the online facilities that will remain in place.

    That's according to Brendan Golden, the IFA Livestock Chairman, based in Killala.

    Brendan has welcomed the return of buyers and sellers to livestock marts....

  • Senior Government ministers will meet this evening to finalise the plan to further ease Covid-19 restrictions.

    The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid will consider advice issued by NPHET, which met yesterday morning.

    Tomorrow the Taoiseach will announce plans for the resumption of live entertainment, indoor dining and international travel.

  • Hospitality could begin to reopen in June under plans being considered by government.

    The Taoiseach told his party last night it's looking at the likes of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation.

    The plan, which is set to be announced tomorrow, is also expected to see hairdressers, museums and retail open next month.

    NPHET will issue its recommendations after it meets this morning, with the details set to be considered by the Cabinet Covid sub-committee this evening.

    The final sign-off will be done by the full Cabinet tomorrow.

    President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, says the prospect of a June return is welcome...

  • The Government will decide this evening whether or not to move to phase four of the easing of Coronavirus restrictions.


    Moving to phase four would see the re-opening of all pubs, nightclubs and casinos and an increase in public gatherings, with 100 people able to meet indoors and 500 outdoors.

    It's due to happen from Monday, but first will require cabinet approval this evening.

    Last night the National Public Health Emergency team expressed concern about moving to what would be the final phase of the re-opening of the economy.

    Much of the concern relates to the number of young people getting the virus and an increase in the reproductive rate.

    Many pubs that were due to reopen are still awaiting advice on whether or not they can.

    Cabinet is also due to discuss air travel today.

    There've been calls for stricter rules around who is allowed into the country after anecdotal reports of tourists not respecting the self-isolation guidelines.

    Ministers have said they don't plan to ban any flights from coming into the country, but will be stepping up how they track people who do arrive to make sure they are self isolating.

    While Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has pointed out people who lie on the passenger locator forms can be subject to criminal sanction already, if they're caught.


  • Hairdressers and barbers will be prioritised for re-opening next month, along with places of worship.

    The Taoiseach also told his party last night that click-and-collect and non-essential retail are likely to resume in May.

    Micheál Martin also confirmed he hopes to reopen the entire construction sector next month.

    Meanwhile, priests are welcoming the possibility of churches opening next month.

    Fr Richard Gibbons, Parish Priest of Knock, is pleased with the move and says churches are ready to reopen in a safe manner...

  • The Cabinet is meeting today to sign off on plans for a significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from May the 10th.

    Intercounty travel, click and collect, religious services and hairdressers will be the first to resume from next Monday week 10th May.

    This will be followed by the reopening of non-essential retail on the 17th of May while hospitality will return outdoors in June.

    Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will return on June 2nd, and restaurants and pubs can reopen for outdoor services five days later.

    The Taoiseach will make an announcement about the easing of restrictions this evening.

    Going into the Cabinet meeting, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said hope is starting to break through....



    The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will meet this evening to discuss a further easing of restrictions, with an announcement expected tomorrow.

    NPHET met yesterday to consider what public health advice to give on re-opening and despite some concerns about the Indian variant sources say plans to re-open aviation, live events and indoor dining have been given a broad backing.

    The government still plans to trial live events next month with more held over the summer.

    While it's expected indoor dining will be allowed in July, the date has yet to be decided.

    Mayo Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers says the hospitality guidelines were discussed at last night's parliamentary party meeting...



  • Hotels,  B&Bs and hostels can welcome back guests today, for the first time in more than 5 months.

    Guesthouses and self-catering accommodation can also reopen, as part of the Government's planned easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

    The Irish Hotels Federation says today's reopening will result in more than 30,000 staff returning to work over summer.

    Hotels can provide food and drink to residents only, while restaurants and pubs have to wait until next Monday to resume outdoor services - and they can't serve indoors until July 5th.

    The Restaurants Association of Ireland hopes to begin legal action against the state on Friday.

    Chief executive Adrian Cummins says they should be opening in line with hotels today....

  • Over €2.1 million has been allocated today for Ireland West Airport Knock under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025.

    It's part of over €11 million in funding announced for regional airports today by the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughten.

    The €2.1 million for Ireland West Airport Knock will go towards capital investment in the areas of safety, security and sustainability.

    The Mayo airport remains closed at present, due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Mr Gilmore says Ryanair is planning to resume flights from June - but this will be subject to Government advice on international travel.

    He's hoping the first phase will see the opening of a travel corridor between Ireland and the UK, which would benefit many families in the West of Ireland who've been separated from family members for so long during the pandemic.

    Speaking to Midwest News this evening, Joe Gilmore first welcomed the €2.1 million in funding announced today by Government for Ireland West Airport Knock...

  • The number of people allowed to attend wedding receptions increases  to 50 from today.

    Parish Priest of Knock, Father Richard Gibbons says he's pleased about this easing of restrictions.

    However, Fr Richard says the restrictions not allowing baptisms at this time do not make sense, as the number attending a baptism is considerably lower than the 50 allowed to attend Mass, funerals and weddings...


  • As part of a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions during the month of May, public Masses can resume from next Monday 10th May, with a cap of 50 on the number attending.

    Knock Shrine will reopen for public Masses from next Tuesday, and three Masses per day will be celebrated, initially in the Parish Church, as work is taking place in the Basilica.

    The Shrine has also confirmed plans to go ahead with the National Novena this August.

    Parish Priest of Knock Fr Richard Gibbons told Midwest News that plans are being finalised for the reopening of the Shrine for public Masses next week.....

  • It looks like it will be the end of April or early May before non-essential shops or hairdressers have a chance of reopening.

    The Tanaiste says the easing of restrictions next month will be quite limited.

    The relaxing of the 5km rule, some outdoor activities and construction are set to be the only areas to change.

    Leo Varadkar says restrictions will ease on a slow and phased basis...


    Shops across the region deemed non-essential can welcome back customers today for the first time this year.

    Last week customers needed an appointment for shopping, with Penneys saying 275 thousand people made an advance booking with the store.

    As restrictions ease, people are reminded to continue to practice social distancing and hand hygiene, while wearing face masks and also being patient.

    Duncan Graham from Retail Excellence says they're expecting a very busy few days...

  • From today, nursing home visits can increase to four per week where 80% of residents are fully vaccinated.

    Up to now, only two visits per week were allowed to a resident.

    The changes also mean that two people are allowed at each visit, whereas up to now, only one visitor was permitted.

    Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Home Ireland says it's welcome news, and the increased visits are a direct result of the effectiveness of the vaccination roll-out in nursing homes.


  • Two fully vaccinated people will be allowed to meet indoors under plans being considered by the Cabinet this afternoon.

    Ministers are also finalising the details of a roadmap that could see retail and personal services such as hairdressers open in May.

    It's expected the Cabinet will agree that, from 12th April, people can travel anywhere within their own country, while schools will return fully.

    Fully vaccinated people will also be given more freedoms - including two people that are vaccinated being allowed to meet up indoors from April 12th.

    On that date, home construction will return also.

    Health officials want two weeks to examine the impact of that before outdoor sports including tennis and golf as well as underage sports training can resume from 26th April, with intercounty GAA training being allowed from 19th April  .

    The Taoiseach's address is scheduled for just after 6pm, followed by a press briefing by the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Environment Minister.


  • From next Monday week, people will be allowed to travel within their own counties - or 20km from their home if crossing county boundaries.

    Social meet-ups will also be allowed outdoors with one other household from April 12th - but not in private gardens.

    Residential construction will also resume on that date, after a 13-week shutdown.

    Golf courses, tennis courts and visitor attractions are all set to open from April 26th, while underage sports training will also resume on that date, and the number of people attending funerals will increase to 25.

    The Government last evening announced the roadmap out of some Covid-19 restrictions over the next month.

    A vaccine bonus will also kick in, with two people or households that are fully vaccinated allowed to meet indoors from today.

    The measures will be reviewed in the last week of April ahead of a May 4th date for further re-opening - hairdressers, retail, places of worship and the rest of the construction sector will be considered in May.

    Looking further ahead, hotels and B&Bs are likely to reopen in June and domestic travel is set to resume in July.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin says people will be able to enjoy much greater freedoms this summer...

  • The Tánaiste has said there won't be time limits on tables for outdoor dining and drinking once it returns in June.

    The 9 euro substantial meal has also been scrapped, as has the limit on the number of people on a premises.

    Restaurants and pubs are still waiting on the formal advice from Fáilte Ireland.

    But Tánaiste Leo Varadkar explains how it will work.....


    Meanwhile, the Tanaiste says the prospect of a return to indoor dining and drinking will be evaluated in late June, with a view to returning in July.

    The factors which need to be favourable if indoor hospitality is to return include case numbers and the R number, hospitalisations, the rollout of the vaccine programme, and variants of the virus.


  • Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there is “lots to be positive about” as the country is on track to ease Covid-19 restrictions further on May 4. 

    The Tanaiste says that, despite bumps in the vaccine roll-out plan, Ireland is still on track to meet its targets. 

    Mr Varadkar posted a video on social media last night to “reassure” the public after it was announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine is being restricted to those aged between 60 and 69 and the Johnson and Johnson jab has been paused. 

    He said we should not lose sight of the bigger picture, as for the first time this year, there are now  less than 200 people in hospital this week with Covid, less than 50 people in ICU, cases are falling, and the R number is below one. 

    He continued by saying “This week, all the schools went back, the 5km rule ended and we started building homes again, so lots of things to be positive about.”

    Mr Varadker noted that amendments will have to be made to the vaccine programme, but insisted it's still on track, and said we are also on track to ease restrictions on 4th May.



  • From next Monday week 12th April, people will be allowed to travel within their own county.

    Taoiseach Mícheal Martin has this evening outlined plans of a roadmap for lifting level 5 restrictions.

    From 12th April, all schools will be fully reopened, people can travel within their county and construction of homes and childcare facilities can resume.

    Two households will also be allowed to meet outdoors.

    From 19th April, inter-county GAA training can resume, along with high performance training for some athletes approved by Sport Ireland.

    26th April will see the resumption of sports training for children, while golf and tennis will also be permitted from that date.

    Zoos and wildlife parks will also reopen from that date, two households who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to meet indoors, and the number of people attending funerals will be extended to 25.

    The Taoiseach outlined targets for the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

    He said people will not be able to celebrate Easter this year in the way they would like, but they should reflect on the sacrifices they have made over the past year, and look forward with hope.