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The Government has recently published its Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. This roadmap outlines plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society over the course of five three-week phases.
The first of these phases begins on Monday 18th May and to help you understand the roadmap, we take a look at the key dates and implications below.
Phase 1: Begins Monday 18/05/2020
On Monday 18th of May, schools and colleges will be open to allow teachers to carry out remote learning. The phasing in of outdoor workers such as gardeners and construction workers will also begin. Remote working on a broader scale will continue for all workers who can do so. Other retailers, those that are primarily outdoor, such as garden centres, homeware stores and farmer’s markets, can also reopen.
Other businesses permitted to open subject to compliance with social distancing include:
- Motor and bicycle repair shops
- Office product retailers
- Electrical and IT
- Phone sales & repair
Pitches, golf courses and tennis courts can also be reopened subject to compliance with social distancing. Childcare facilities will reopen for healthcare workers.
Phase 2: Begins Monday 08/06/2020
Phase 2 will see a limited return to onsite working activity, provided employees can comply with social distancing guidelines. Remote working will continue for all who can do so. More small retail outlets will also be permitted to open subject to compliance with social distancing measures.
Businesses planning for a return to onsite working will have to take the following into consideration:
- Social distancing compliance
- Hygiene and cleaning
- Compliance in higher-risk situations
- Plans for medically vulnerable or pregnant people
- Extended opening hours to enable social distancing.
Phase 3: Begins Monday 29/06/2020
Childcare facilities will be permitted to look after children of essential workers in Phase 3. More businesses with low interaction work will be permitted to reopen. Once again, remote working will continue for all that can do so.
Phase 3 will also see the reopening of non-essential retail outlets with street-level access. However, shopping centres will remain closed. Cafés and restaurants that serve on-premises food will be allowed to reopen subject to compliance with social distancing measures and strict cleaning protocols. Public transport restrictions in major urban centres may still be in place to ensure compliance with social distancing measures.
Phase 4: Begins Monday 20/07/2020
Phase 4 will see childcare facilities reopening for children of all workers on a gradually increasing phased basis, i.e. one day per week. Employees who are unable to work remotely will be considered first for a return to onsite working. Depending on the type of operations in your business, measures such as staggered hours and shift work should be implemented to increase the number of workers available for work in any 24-hour period. As long as you can limit the number of workers interacting with each other, employees should be able to resume their normal work duties. Remote working continues for all workers or businesses that can do so.
More high-risk services involving direct physical contact, such as hairdressers, can reopen. Hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks will be permitted to reopen on a limited occupancy basis. However, hotel bars will remain closed during this Phase 4.
Public transport restrictions in major urban centres will be lifted gradually.
Phase 5: Begins Monday 10/08/2020
Phase 5, the last Phase of reopening, is planned for early August and involves a phased return to work across all sectors. ‘Higher risk’ organisations which, by their nature cannot easily maintain social distancing, will need to implement plans outlining how they can progress towards the onsite return of their entire workforce. Remote working for all workers or businesses that can do so will also continue.
Enclosed shopping centres will reopen subject to complying with social distancing measures. Bars, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres along with gyms, events, festivals and outdoor gatherings will all resume as part of Phase 5.
Possibility of restrictions being reintroduced
The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business will be continuously reviewed during and between each Phase. The government has confirmed that the restrictions could be modified based on the results of these assessments. If the lifting of restrictions leads to an increased level of transmission of the disease, restrictions could be reintroduced.