Reopening announcement: All the key dates

ireland
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced a “gradual” and “careful” easing of Covid-19 restrictions from next Monday, however, he warned “we are very unlikely to be ever able to say we are rid of this virus completely”.

Martin says as a “country we will find the right way to memorialise those we have lost to the virus”.

“We will rebuild our economy and renew our society,” he added.

Under the new plan, entitled Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting, almost all restrictions will be lifted by October 22nd.

Here are the key reopening dates:

September 1st:

Public transport will return to full capacity.

September 6th:

There will be an easing of restrictions on organised indoor and outdoor events and mass gatherings.

From that date, theatre, music and live events can take place for vaccinated people at 60 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Religious services will be allowed to proceed at up to 50 per cent capacity.

September 20th:

Restrictions on indoor and outdoor group activities will be eased. Return to work for those still working from home may also commence on a phased and staggered basis from September 20th.

October 22nd:

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The plan is to remove the following measures on October 22nd:

  • The legal requirement to prove immunity in order to access indoor hospitality or other events.
  • All remaining restrictions on indoor and outdoor events and activities.
  • All remaining restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies.
  • The legal requirements for mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings.

Even after October 22nd, there will still be a statutory requirement to wear masks in healthcare settings, indoor retail and on public transport.

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In other news:

Covid latest

A further 1,382 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the State today, with 355 coronavirus patients in Irish hospitals.

Infection control measures needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cannot be maintained at Cork University Hospital due to overcrowding, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned.

The group said the number of patients waiting for beds at the hospital this morning was the highest since the start of the pandemic and described the situation as "out of control and extremely dangerous".

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said she is self-isolating after contracting Covid-19.

Separately, the Government is also planning a 'last mile' payment for workers in sectors facing a phased reopening, with sectors such as live events and the Arts not expected to return to full capacity from the outset.

A 'new normal'

A member of Nphet, Dr Mary Favier, has said she is optimistic about the easing of restrictions but warned caution would become the "new normal".

Dr Favier said the high vaccination rates in the country would provide “a significant buffer”, however, even a 100 per cent rate would not be enough. She cautioned that the return of schools was “a challenge, but it is one we can meet.”

Meanwhile, Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) general secretary John Boyle has said it is time for a review of face masks for primary school children.

His comment follows a suggestion by Nphet that the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) should look at the latest evidence on the minimum age for wearing face coverings.

Population tops five million

The population of the Republic of Ireland is estimated to be at over five million people for the first time since the era of the Great Famine.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Tuesday published its annual Population and Migration Estimates for April 2021, showing Ireland’s population rose to 5.01 million, up from 4.97 million 12 months earlier.

It is the first time the population has reached this level since 1851, a date during the time of the famine which saw mass starvation and emigration in Ireland.

Google return-to-office

Google is extending its voluntary return-to-office policy through January 10th, 2022, the internet search giant's top boss Sundar Pichai told employees in an email on Tuesday, against the backdrop of rising Delta variant cases, Reuters reports.

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