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get ready Everything we know so far about the big reopening from beer gardens to ‘substantial meals’ and haircuts


It is anticipated that people will be able to order an alcoholic drink without having to also order a €9 meal. Stock image

It is anticipated that people will be able to order an alcoholic drink without having to also order a €9 meal. Stock image

It is anticipated that people will be able to order an alcoholic drink without having to also order a €9 meal. Stock image

THE Government is set to unveil its big plan for the summer reopening tomorrow.

Early indications point to a future without the need to buy a substantial meal to have a pint of beer.

Pubs and restaurants may reopen for outdoor service together and a lift on the inter-country travel ban will kick in from June.

Nphet met this morning to make its final recommendations to Cabinet. The Covid-19 Cabinet sub-committee will now consider this advice.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said several times that May will see the phased reopening of non-essential retail, personal services, resumption of religious services, greater outdoor activity and a full return of construction.

The official announcement is currently scheduled for 6pm tomorrow after ministers hold a Cabinet meeting in the afternoon.

When will pubs reopen?

Minister Eamon Ryan indicated today that this may be the end of the €9 substantial meal, which was required last summer when hospitality reopened.

This meant that people socialising had to spend at least €9 on a meal before they could purchase alcohol.

Mr Ryan says that the only difference between hospitality services now will be if they are operating indoors or outdoors.

“I think we've learned outdoors is safer so that will be the defining [factor], not whether or not you're having chicken nuggets on top of it,” he said.

Junior Minister Robert Troy said last Friday that the Government is also working on a phased roadmap for the hospitality sector, from the end of May and the beginning of June.

This may see a return to outdoor dining and beer gardens from the end of the month.

When will we be able to leave our counties?

Minister Ryan said today that the resumption of outdoor hospitality services and the inter-county travel ban will be viewed “together”.

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He also indicated that both of these may reopen in June.

What shops will reopen in May?

There will be a phased reopening of retail from early May.

From May 4, click-and-collect services will resume. Garden centres and homeware shops will also likely reopen early in the month.

Ministers will later this week decide on how the rest of retail, including clothing shops, should reopen throughout the month.

It is likely that bigger shops, such as Penneys, will reopen later in the month.

What about staycations and holidays abroad?

There will be a big focus on staycations at tomorrow’s Government announcement.

The EU is promising to roll out vaccine passports by mid-July at the latest, and possibly as early as June.

One senior source said summer holidays abroad may be possible “if we’re lucky”. Currently, the Government advice is that there is to be no non-essential travel abroad.

Ministers are cautious about the rapid spread of the virus in India, with several cases of the Indian variant detected here also.

When will we be able to go to mass?

From mid-May, there may be up to 50 people allowed to attend mass, but not funerals or weddings.

With 25 currently allowed to attend funerals from Monday, this is likely to cause confusion. Government sources say that allowing 50 people to attend mass, but not other religious services, is to prevent further gatherings after the ceremony is over.

Anything else?

Personal services, including hairdressers, barbers and salons, will also reopen next month.

A full reopening of the construction sector will also take place from the start of May. This will see a resumption of commercial building sites, such as offices.

Property viewings will also no longer have to be virtual and may take place in person.

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