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Leo Varadkar Hopes To Have Ireland 'Almost Fully Open' By July

The outgoing Taoiseach said it is possible that the worst of the pandemic is over but "it is not over yet".

The phased system of reopening the country by way of COVID-19 is being revised, with hopes that all restrictions will be lifted sooner rather than later. 

Outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that efforts are being made to revise phases four and five, with hopes of easing COVID-19 restrictions sooner in order to have the country "almost fully open" by the middle of July. 

This includes an earlier than planned reopening of hairdressers and beauty salons, which under the current plans are due to reopen on 20 July.

Leo Varadkar said that work should be done "probably this week". 

However, he did warn that the reopening of businesses is entirely virus-dependent, mentioning that there is always a risk it "might make a comeback". 

At present, the Republic of Ireland is currently in Phase Two of the five-phase rollout which means that we can travel up to 20km away from home as opposed to the previous 5km limit and allow to four people to visit our households for a short period of time, provided social distancing measures are adhered to. More on Phase Two here

Phase Three kicks in on Monday, June 29 – which will permit:

  • Domestic travel
  • Prison visits
  • The opening of cafes and restaurants with social distancing measures
  • Creches to reopen for children of essential workers / those who need to return to work
  • Pubs to reopen, effectively operating as restaurants with no bar service
  • The reopening of places of worship

As well as this, some behind-closed-doors sporting activities can resume and domestic tourism – ie hotels, hostels, museums, galleries and caravan parks – can resume.

Phase Four, which comes into effect on Monday, July 20, permits:

  • All creches to reopen on a limited basis
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen
  • Hospital visits can resume.
  • Schools will reopen at some stage thereafter
  • Theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and casinos can reopen, but all where social distancing measures can function
  • Festivals and cultural gatherings can resume but with limited attendance (large weddings will be restricted)
  • Close contact sports, including rugby and boxing, can come back, as can gym activity where high standards of cleaning are employed
  • Attendances at sports events will resume but with restrictions on numbers.
  • So, too, can indoor activities such as bowling and bingo halls.

READ MORE: The Measures That Could See Irish Hairdressers Open This Month