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:
(Please remember that without advertising revenue or people buying our papers, this website and our social media would not exist. You can subscribe to the Connacht Tribune or Galway City Tribune digital edition HERE)
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.
Shannon back in full flight!
There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.
The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.
All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.
Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.
To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.
A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.
Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks
Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell
When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.
Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.
In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.
On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.
With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.
“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.
“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.
“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie
All out in force to cheer home one of their own
Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.
Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.
“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.
That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.
The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.
“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.
Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie