A wide range of social and economic activities resumed



Today will see the further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions with inter-county travel and in-person church services among the activities that will resume.

As part of the most substantial easing of restrictions so far this year, a range of social and economic activities will resume.

Galleries, museums, libraries and other cultural attractions will reopen and public transport will operate at 50% capacity.

A maximum of three households, or up to six people from individual households, can meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

Adults in groups of no more than 15 people will also be allowed to attend the training.

Travel will now be allowed between all counties.

Fully vaccinated people may meet other fully vaccinated people indoors and without a mask with no more than three households present.

Today will also see the gradual reopening of non-essential retail with click-through and pickup and in-store purchases by appointment.

Personal services such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can also open after more than five months of closure.

In-person church services may resume. There will be a limit of 50 mourners at a funeral.

While 50 guests can attend a wedding ceremony, there is a limit of six people for indoor and 15 outdoor receptions.

Up to 15 people will also be able to attend other organized outdoor gatherings and adults will be able to train again together in groups of 15 people.

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Meanwhile, 12,000 businesses are expected to reopen their premises this week.

However, the government has said people should continue to work from home whenever possible, and public health officials have urged business owners, employees and customers to be very careful.

Tánaist Leo Varadkar described it as an important week for business.

“This is the longest lockdown since the start of the pandemic. I am determined to do everything we can to make it the last,” he said.

However, Mr Varadkar added that wherever possible, people should continue to work from home.

“The virus is still circulating and about two-thirds of the adult population have yet to receive the vaccine,” Tánaiste said.

“Mixing up in the workplace can allow the virus to spread, so we must all continue to play our part in defeating this cruel virus.”

Government support must remain in place until at least the end of June to help reopening businesses resume trading and to provide continued assistance to those that remain closed.

Meanwhile, Dublin City Librarian Mairead Owens says she is really excited and is counting the hours until she can welcome people to the libraries again.

From 10 a.m., the public will be allowed to return to the libraries to browse.

However, Ms Owens told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that they were urged not to stay too long.

She said the libraries are “good and out of the box” and have an incredible collection of new books to publish.

Ian Madden, a Cross Fit trainer in Greystones, Wicklow, said it was great to be back and his gym is hoping to reopen on June 7.

Before that, they’ll be working at half capacity and training outdoors, which he said is better than working online.

Mr Madden said there had been a huge drop in online traffic over the past 12 weeks as people’s motivation plummeted.

However, he added that there was a great appetite to resume training.

Mr Madden said the mental health of the country has really suffered over the past year and that health and fitness will be really important in the future.

He said he hoped the government would recognize the importance of gyms and view fitness as an essential service in the future.

He said the fitness industry will face huge challenges for the staff to come back and reopen.

Mr. Madden said many fitness industry staff have moved to other work during the pandemic, while the fitness industry has seen a huge drop in revenue.

Father Pat O Donnell, parish priest of Rathmore, Kerry and a member of the Covid task force, says he will be happy to welcome people back because they missed them, and he knows communities have failed to come together.

Father O’Donnell said Zoom meetings are great, but “there is nothing quite like meeting people and being with people”.

He added that the only contact priests have had with the community in recent months was through funerals.

He said he was confident churches can reopen safely because there are large systems in place and huge numbers of volunteers to make sure people are safe in churches.

Father O’Donnell said the increase in attendance at funerals and weddings would be “huge” for people.

He told Morning Ireland that communions and confirmations still cannot take place and will likely take place in the fall.

Will Goodbody Additional Reports


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