The taoiseach (Irish PM) has announced that from 12 April people will be allowed to travel within their county for exercise and recreation.
Micheál Martin outlined various dates for easing Covid-19 restrictions in the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.
The country’s National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) recommended a cautious approach.
From 12 April, two households can meet outdoors and the construction industry can return to work.
From 19 April, some additional high performance training will be allowed, including senior-inter county GAA training.
He said training for high-performing athletes approved by Sport Ireland will also be allowed.
From 26 April, those who are fully vaccinated can meet other fully vaccinated people indoors, provided both people have had their second doses at least 14 days previously.
On the same date golf and outdoor tennis can resume, some outdoor visitors such as zoos can reopen and the number of people permitted to attend a funeral will increase from 10 to 25.
Recommencement of religious services on a staggered basis will be considered after 4 May.
Mr Martin said vaccines will get the country “out of this pandemic” but said that disruptions to supply have held things back.
He said supply will dramatically increase in April, May and June.
More than 800,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered, he added.
‘Final stretch of this terrible journey’
By the middle of April, all those over 70 will have their first dose and he added that six million doses should be administered by the end of July.
“Less than two weeks from now all of our children will be back at school. In four weeks many of our outdoor sporting facilities will be open again,” he said.
“We are on the final stretch of this terrible journey,” he added.
However he urged people to still be careful even though things are difficult
“Sometimes the challenge of living with these restrictions obscures their purpose but we should never forget that by accepting the restrictions on our lives, we have saved lives.
“The disease we are dealing with now is a very different beast to that which we were facing in the first lockdown more than 54 weeks ago.
“The so called UK or B117 variant is essentially a new virus – if it is given any space will spread quickly and the consequences are terrible.”
How restrictions will ease in the Republic
The Irish cabinet agreed to the following measures.
- Travel within an individual’s own county is allowed
- Two households may meet outside
- Construction can return
- GAA inter-county training can resume
- 25 mourners allowed at a funeral
- Under 18 outdoor sports training resumes
- Two vaccinated people may meet indoors, as long as they are both fully vaccinated
The level five restrictions include a ban on all household visits, the closure of non-essential retail and a 5km limit on travel.
Other restrictions include the closure of sports including golf and tennis, with the exception of professional or elite sports like Gaelic games and horse racing behind closed doors.