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Ireland cautiously starts easing lockdown with the first of five phases

by ace
Ireland cautiously starts easing lockdown with the first of five phases

Ireland has taken the first steps to reduce coronavirus blockade.

The country entered the first stage of a five-stage plan to lift restrictions on Monday (May 18), following a national order to stay at home since the end of March.

Some companies, including hardware stores, farmer's markets and garden centers, can now reopen their doors, but household goods stores, like Ikea, cannot.

Some construction companies are also getting back to work, if employees can keep a safe distance from each other.

But many offices remain closed and citizens are encouraged to work from home whenever possible. People are also advised to wear face masks on public transport, as well as in closed areas, and to follow all other advice on social distance and hand washing.

This is all part of a five-phase plan to facilitate the blockade that will end on August 10 with the reopening of bars.

Schools were closed for the rest of the academic year and will not receive students before September.

Cafes and restaurants won't reopen until the end of June and you won't get a haircut in Ireland until the end of July, so it's still pretty strict.

Those who wish to practice some exercise can play tennis or exercise outdoors in small groups of up to four people, as long as they remain five kilometers from home. Some golf courses have also been reopened.

Teachers can now return to school and university, but only to prepare for classes to resume in September.

Health Minister Simon Harris told the national broadcaster RTE that he was "satisfied and nervous"how restrictions have been eased.

The Irish government has reasons for optimism, as the number of people in intensive care units decreases by two-thirds in a month, while the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 decreases more than 90%, according to data cited by Harris.

But Ireland is looking for a possible recovery from infections as it eases restrictions. He also expects a brutal recession this year, with GDP shrinking more than 10%.

The country's second phase gradual reopening it is scheduled for June 8, the third on June 29, the fourth on July 20 and the fifth and final phase on August 10.

However, government officials have warned that this plan could change if Ireland sees an increase in coronavirus cases. The country is already looking closely at how other EU states are doing, by lifting its own roadblocks.

You can watch the Shona Dublin update in the video player above.

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