Next announcement should bring clarity and hope

By Jonathan Acton - jonathan.acton@homeinstead.ie

With all the changes in policy over the last year, shur it’s hard to know if you’re coming or going! But hopefully the next big announcement from An Taoiseach Micheál Martin might bring us some clarity and hope.

Minister Harris confirmed the next review meeting is “likely to be on Thursday or Friday of next week” and, with the country already taking measures to ease lockdown, it’s expected that the next substantial update will provide more clarity and dates.

As always, four main factors are taken into consideration when it comes to reopening the country, and they are; variants, the vaccine, the number of cases and the state of the hospitals.

Speaking on Instagram on Tuesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that “we’ll be able to set out what can open in May and give some indication as to whether things will open in June or July.”

Hospitality

During the last address to the nation, the Fianna Fáil leader stated: “This summer, our businesses and our public services will safely reopen. We will finally be meeting and enjoying the company of friends and family once again. We will be able to travel within and enjoy our beautiful country again. Jobs and livelihoods will be restored.”

On this note, it’s fair to say that the government’s updated plan will provide more information for the reopening of the hospitality sector, mainly, a specific date.

Last week, the Irish Mirror reported that the government is working on plans to reopen hotels from June 10.

Regular indoor dining will most likely not be reopening in June in these outlets, which could lead many to protest against the favouritism being shown to the hotel industry.

Elsewhere, it is expected that outdoor dining will return sometime between the end of May and the middle of June.

Also last week, Minister Harris also said that he’ll be asking the government to do “a little bit more outdoors” this summer and said: “I don’t see why we won’t be able to do that [outdoor dining] during the summer months. We managed this last summer.”

Increased personal freedoms

As stated by the Taoiseach on Twitter: “25% of eligible adults now have their first dose – 948,000. And 10% are now fully vaccinated with two doses – 381,000.”

Given the fact that more people are receiving their vaccine or have been fully vaccinated, restrictions on the social gatherings for those who have been vaccinated should ease.

For example, at present, if two weeks have passed since you got your second dose of the vaccine, you can meet with other fully vaccinated people from another household indoors without wearing masks or staying two metres apart.

If you have received the second dose, you have to wait two weeks until you can meet other fully vaccinated people indoors.

With more vaccines being administered, this situation is like to improve, while an easing of those restrictions on organised indoor and outdoor gatherings is likely, especially for those who have already received the jab.

While the extension of the 5km travel zone to 20km (or in-county) is relatively new, it’s feasible that this limit will be extended to a further distance, depending on the important factors (cases, vaccines, variants, the healthcare system).

Home Instead, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar: 044 938 5260