The Coronavirus phases are in full swing.
Since March of this year, Ireland and the entire world has been on a widespread lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus. The outbreak of this illness has seen businesses all over the country close, bringing the Irish economy to somewhat of a standstill.
And now, in what feels like a lifetime later (but really, about 10 weeks or so), the country is ready to slowly reopen, in five phases laid out by the government.
A five step plan has been put in place, that will take us up to August 10th, when the final phase starts.
And while we’ve seen and heard a lot about these phases, they can be a bit tricky to figure out, in terms of what will be allowed and what won’t be, with the introduction of each phase. So, I’ve decided to break them down, and lay them out in a way we can all understand.
Phase One – Commenced May 18th
So we’re well into the first phase of this 5-step reopening process, and not a huge amount has changed just yet. This step meant that we could meet up in groups of four people (from different households), outdoors, while still maintaining social distance. Garden centres and hardware shops were allowed to reopen, along with certain public amenities like tennis courts and golf courses.
Phase Two – Commencing June 8th
If all goes to plan, we’ll enter phase two of the process on June 8th. This is a fairly significant phase, as our travel parameters will go from 5km to 2km, meaning we can travel further afield for exercise, and visiting loved ones. This stage also allows people to enter other households, in groups of four or less while still maintaining social distance. Small shops will be allowed to reopen also, but with limited numbers and enhanced hygiene measures. Remote working is to continue for those that can do it.
Phase Three – Commencing June 29th
From June 29th, larger retail outlets are allowed to reopen. Possibly the biggest change here will be the fact that restaurants and cafés will be allowed to open the doors once more, as long as they adhere to social distancing rules. This, of course, begs the questions about pubs, who are not allowed to reopen in phase three. Plenty of bars and pubs also function as restaurants, so there are ongoing discussions about what will happen in these cases.
Phase Four – Commencing July 20th
This phase will allow people to travel beyond their 20km radius, to other regions around the country (anyone for a staycation?) It will also allow for larger social gatherings indoors, although an actual number has not been specified just yet. Barbers and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen in this phase, which is pretty much music to everyone’s ears I reckon. Hotels will reopen, although hotel bars will remain closed.
Phase Five – Commencing August 10th
Phew, we made it to the final phase of this five step process. This is the final phase in the process, that will see a return to normal life (or as close as possible, given the circumstances). Pubs and bars will reopen across the country, as will theatres, nightclubs and cinemas. Travel to offshore islands will be permitted, as long as social distancing and hygiene are maintained. Gyms, festivals and mass gatherings will also return. We did it!
It is important to note that each of these coronavirus phases are subject to change, based on COVID-19 and how it behaves in the coming months. This means that the phases could either be brought forward earlier, or delayed.