Coronavirus: People to be allowed to travel anywhere in their county from Monday as Ireland moves to exit lockdown

Hotels and B&Bs set to re-open at the end of June under major acceleration

People are to be allowed to travel anywhere within their county from Monday next as the Government moves to implement a dramatic escalation of the roadmap to reopen Ireland.

The Cabinet met on Friday to give the green light to moving to phase two of easing coronavirus restrictions but also considered accelerating entire phases of the existing plan.

An increase in the travel limit from 5km to 20km was due to come into effect on Monday but now under revised restrictions people will also be allowed to travel anywhere within their own county, even if that is more than 20km from their home.

Hotels and B&Bs are also set to re-open at the end of the month under the acceleration discussed by Cabinet and the reduction of the two-meter social distancing rule these businesses is being considered.

The Government is also considering the possibility that some pubs will open earlier than planned and the total lifting of travel restrictions earlier than planned is also being discussed.

Well-placed sources have said the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has asked if it should examine if entire phases can be brought forward or merged. It is understood, however, that significant work would have to be done before this could be deemed to be possible.

It is also understood that shopping centres will be able to re-open on June 15th, provided people do not congregate in areas such as foodhalls. The number of people allowed to visit another person’s home from next Monday will increase to six, instead of the initially planned four.

The numbers allowed gather outside will also rise to six and sports teams may be able to resume training – although it is understood contact will not be allowed.

Summer camps will also be permitted in similar circumstances, while cocooners will also be told they can do most of what everyone else is permitted to do but will be given extra guidance.

Ministers were considering the easing restrictions at their meeting on Friday which began at 10am. The Cabinet, in recommending that people be allowed travel within their counties and allowing shopping centres to re-open, is understood to have gone beyond the advice of Nphet.

On Friday, Minister for Business Heather Humphreys confirmed the message would be changing from stay at home to stay local.

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