Ireland moves to phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions
Dublin, June 30 (IANS) Ireland has moved to phase 3 of lifting the COVID-19 restrictions, with more businesses allowed for reopening and greater freedom given to people's movement.
Starting from Monday, a wide range of businesses and services in the country reopened. They included cafes, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, beauty salons, sports activities, museums, galleries, theatres and cinemas, reports Xinhua news agency.
Adult education facilities, creches, pre-schools, summer camps, youth clubs, driving schools, driving testing, religious buildings and places of worship also reopened.
In the phase 3, the government has also allowed the reopening of pubs and hotel bars, but with conditions.
Only pubs and hotel bars that serve food are allowed to resume their business.
Besides, customer's stay time inside such places is capped at one hour and 45 minutes and the lead person of a group of customers must leave his or her contact information so that they can be traced back if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is found.
During this stage, indoor gathering of up to 50 people and outdoor gathering of up to 200 people has been permitted.
People are also allowed to travel freely across the country without having to be concerned about breaking the travel limit rules.
Prior to this, people were only allowed to travel up to 20 km away from their homes.
But non-essential overseas travel is still not encouraged in the third phase.
Starting from July 9, the government will also allow people from low-risk countries to enter Ireland without requiring them to practice a 14-day self-isolation.
A list of low-risk countries will be announced by the government in advance and be reviewed on a two-week basis.
Ireland entered the first phase of lifting its COVID-19 restrictions on May 18.
According to a roadmap announced by the government for reopening the country's society and business, the restrictive measures will be lifted in four phases with each phase lasting three weeks. The fourth phase will commence on July 20 when up to 100 people and 500 people are allowed for indoor and outdoor gatherings respectively.
Ireland reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 at the end of February. The country imposed a nationwide lockdown starting from midnight on March 27.
To date, over 25,000 people in the country have contracted COVID-19 and more than 1,700 of them have died from the disease, according to official statistics.