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Government to introduce a revised Living with COVID plan in Ireland

DUBLIN: The new Living with COVID-19 plan is coming up in the country. The official announcement of the plan will come after today’s cabinet sub-committee discussions and tomorrow’s cabinet decision. The government will announce a clear plan of what we will be like for the next two months. The 5 km travel limit will remain in place until early May and is expected to be reviewed in April. Current restrictions on household gatherings will continue.

Schools will be open but will be implemented very carefully and in stages. The Leaving Cert students are expected to return to school on March 1, along with junior and senior infants, primary school students and first- and second-graders. Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said all primary school students will return to school by March 15. But secondary school students are unlikely to reach the classroom until the Easter holidays.

Retail is not a priority

The reopening of non-essential retail establishments is not on the government’s priority list. But this week’s plan can specify the order in which it will return.

Construction sector with hope

The full return of the construction sector is not expected to occur early next month.

Taoiseach said hospitality sector will not reopen

The Taoiseach has said that the hospitality sector will not reopen until mid-summer. It is expected to be possible in late June or early July. The government’s announcement that pandemic unemployment payments and financial assistance to businesses will continue until the end of June underscores this fact. Pubs that do not serve food are also expected to not reopen until autumn.

Summer with restrictions

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has made it clear that this year will be an outdoor summer with restrictions. The Government has also announced that the domestic tourism season is likely to be the same as Summer 2020.

Schedule for vaccination

The Government hopes to have people over the age of 18 complete the vaccination by the end of September. It is hoped that the revised plan will provide more clarity on when people will be vaccinated. It has also been decided to shift those who are proven to have serious illnesses to the priority list.

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