Preschools will reopen in a ‘later phase’.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has updated the nation on the Covid-19 restrictions this evening. The Taoiseach outlined that the current tight restrictions are now extended until May 18.
As had been expected following a Cabinet briefing earlier this afternoon, there are two notable exceptions to this.
From next Tuesday, the 2km zone for exercise and non-essential travel restriction will be extended until 5km. And the over 70s will be allowed to leave the house to exercise within that 5km zone.
The country will begin to be opened again in phases, beginning on May 18.
After that date, construction workers and gardeners will be allowed to return to work. Garden centres and hardware stores will also be allowed to reopen. Small groups of friends will be allowed to meet outdoors and some sports activities will also be allowed to resume for small groups.
However, schools and colleges will not reopen until September or October, the Taoiseach confirmed.
Reacting to the news, both Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Marylou McDonald told RTÉ News that there needed to be more detail given by the Government on what this means for Leaving Cert students and whether the exams will ahead at the end of July as has been previously suggested.
Pre-schools will not be allowed to reopen until “later phases’, as will cafes, restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms.
The Taoiseach also offered a message of hope that the country will recover from the virus, and paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to this by adhering to the restrictions so far.
Leo Varakar will be among the guests on The Late Late Show tonight, where he is expected to answer further questions about the Government’s plan to ease restrictions in the coming months as well as the measures being considered to boost the economy.