Coronavirus: Face coverings advised as Ireland eases restrictions

  • Published
Woman wearing face maskImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Face coverings are recommended in certain situations in the Republic of Ireland

People in the Republic of Ireland are being advised to use face coverings on public transport or in enclosed indoor public areas from Monday.

Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar revealed the move as part of Phase One of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Up to four people who do not live in the same household will be allowed to meet up outdoors, as long as they maintain a two-metre distance.

Garden centres, farmers' markets, bike shops and motor garages can open.

Also opening from Monday are electrical and IT stores, as well as opticians.

Construction workers and gardeners can also to return to work from that date.

Older people and those who are cocooning should continue to stay at home, except for brief outdoor exercise within 5km of their home.

Mr Varadkar said the guidance was to stay at home, except in the following five circumstances:

  • To go to work if your workplace is open and you can't work from home;
  • To shop for items you need;
  • To exercise within five kilometres;
  • For medical reasons or to care for others;
  • To meet friends or family within five kilometres, in groups of no more than four.

As part of Phase One, outdoor spaces and tourism sites, along with golf clubs and tennis courts, can reopen as long as social distancing is in place.

Following a Cabinet meeting on Friday, an Irish government spokesperson said hardware but not homeware shops can reopen under this phase of the plan.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Leo Varadkar says he hopes to be able to announce a movement to Phase Two in three weeks' time

Mr Varadkar said that he hoped to be able to announce a movement to Phase Two in three weeks' time, however, that was dependant on progress.

"Nothing is guaranteed and the only thing that is inevitable is the spread of the virus if we don't push it back.

"Covid-19 is an inferno that is raging around the world. In Ireland it is a fire in retreat but it will not be defeated if we do not distinguish every spark and quench every ember.

We are bound together and we must rely on each other if we are to succeed, which we will," he said.

The four basic hygiene measures remain the same; wash hands regularly; maintain two-metre physical distance when possible; sneeze or cough into your elbow or tissue; and stay at home and isolate if you feel unwell, Mr Varadkar said.