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Connacht Tribune

The FULL list: roadmap to Covid-19 re-openings

Enda Cunningham



Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation this evening.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are to be extended until May 18.

However, from next Tuesday, the current 2km travel restriction will be extended to 5km, and people over 70 who are cocooning have been advised they should continue to do so, but can go outside if they avoid contact with other people.

In an address to the nation this evening, Mr Varadkar said that the last few weeks have transformed out lives in so many different ways.

He outlined a roadmap of five stages on how the country will attempt to return to ‘normality’.

The following is the full roadmap to recovery:

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Phase 1, May 18th

From May 18, outdoor workers will be able to return to work. Some retail outlets such as garden centres, hardware shops, farmers markets and repair shops (such as bicycle, motor), electrical, IT and phone sales will reopen. Some sporting activities in small groups will be permitted. Small groups of up to four people (not of the same household) will be permitted to meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

Restrictions of ten people at funerals will remain in place.

Outdoor amenities and tourism sites such as beaches, carparks and mountain walks can be reopened. Small outdoor sports amenities can re-open, e.g. pitches, tennis courts, golf courses, where social distancing can be maintained.

Phase 2, June 8th

Restrictions on travel to be extended to 20km from your home. Continue to avoid unnecessary journeys. Designate specific retail hours across all retailers for the over 70s and medically vulnerable, with strict social distancing, gloves and face masks.

Visits to homes of over 70s and medically vulnerable for small number of people, for short period of time, wearing masks etc.

Up to four people may visit another household for a short period of time.

Slightly larger number of people in attendance at funerals, but still restricted to immediate family and close friends.

Permitted phased return of workers who can maintain 2m social distance constantly. Maintain remote working for businesses that can do so.

Small retail outlets with small number of staff can re-open. Marts where social distancing can be maintained will reopen.

Open public libraries with numbers limited and permit people to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities in small group training (but not matches)

Phase 3, June 29th

Opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers in phased manner with social distancing and other requirements applying.

Phased approach to visiting at hospitals, healthcare centres/prisons etc.

With a risk-based approach, organisations where employees have low levels of daily interaction and social distancing can be maintained, can open.

Phased opening of non-essential retail, with restrictions on numbers of staff and customers per square metre. This will be limited to retail outlets with street-level entrance and exit, i.e. which are not in shopping centres.

Re-open playgrounds and permit ‘behind closed doors’ sporting activities.

Open cafes, restaurants where they can comply with social distancing.

Phase 4, July 20th

Extend travel restrictions to outside your region. Slightly larger numbers can visit households for a short period of time. Small social gatherings by family and close friends with a maximum number (such as weddings and baptisms).

Small social (non-family) gatherings limited to a maximum number of people for a limited time period.

Opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools to all other workers on a phased basis (e.g. one day per week) and slowly increasing thereafter.

Organisations where employees cannot remote work to be considered first for return to onsite working. Staggered shifts should be operated.

Commence loosening restrictions on higher risk services involving direct contact, e.g. barbers, hairdressers.

Open museums, galleries, religious places of workshop.

Permit sports team leagues (e.g. soccer and GAA), but only where limitations and placed on number of spectators and social distancing can be maintained.

Open public swimming pools.

Open hotels, hostels, caravan parks for social and tourist activities with limited occupancy increasing over time. Hotel bars remain closed.

Phase 5, August 10th

Commence opening of schools and colleges on a phased basis at the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year.

Return to normal visiting for hospitals, care homes, prisons etc.

Phased return (risk-based) to onsite working. ‘Higher risk’ organisations which by their nature cannot easily maintain social distancing will implement plans for how they can eventually progress towards onsite return for full staff complement.

Opening of enclosed shopping centres where social distancing can be maintained. Further loosening of services such as tattoo and piercing.

Open theatres and cinemas where social distancing can be maintained.

Permit close physical contact sports (rugby, boxing, wrestling); open gyms, exercise studios where regular cleaning can be carried out and social distancing maintained.

Permit sports spectatorship which involve mass gatherings with limits on indoor and outdoor numbers and social distancing.

Roller skating, bowling alley, bingo halls can reopen with limited numbers.

Pubs, bars, nightclubs, casinos where social distancing and strict cleaning can be complied with.

Festivals, events, social and cultural mass gatherings will be permitted where there are limits on numbers and social distancing is maintained.

Resume tourist travel to offshore islands by non-residents.

Connacht Tribune

Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!

Francis Farragher



James Craughwell about to serve over the tape – and the sheep gates – to brother Christopher with mum, Anne, in the background. The family dog Prince is showing a keen interest in taking up the role of ‘ball boy’. The brollies on the deck chairs were actually purchased at the Wimbledon tournament that the Craughwells attended in 2017.

WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.

The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.

The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.

“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.

As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.

“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.

“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

City Council houses Travellers in county

Declan Tierney



Cllr Donagh Killilea.

Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.

Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.

The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.

Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.

And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.

He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Long drives still out of bounds for golfers

Declan Tierney



Teeing off from the 12th tee at Galway Bay Golf Resort in Oranmore this week on the re-opening of golf courses around the country. There is nothing to suggest that any golfers travelled more than 5km to play in Oranmore. Photo: Keith Kelly.

This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.

The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.

Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.

That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.

Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.

He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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