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Unlock it Travel restrictions eased, takeaway pints back and outdoor meet-ups allowed

The easing of restrictions on socialising outdoors, along with weather conditions improving, is expected to lead to more people drinking alcohol in parks and streets.

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People can now travel within their own county

People can now travel within their own county

People can now travel within their own county

GARDAÍ and the Government have confirmed there will be no prohibition on bars or restaurants serving alcohol to customers outdoors as licensed businesses begin pulling pints for people once again from today.

A gradual easing of restrictions today means that two households can meet outdoors for social or leisure activities - however, people have been asked not to meet in each other's gardens.

People can also now travel within their county or within 20km of their home if it crosses a county boundary.

Meanwhile, all first to fourth-year secondary school pupils will be returning to the classroom today.

It comes as deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said: "There are many reasons for hope as we head into a new week."

He said yesterday saw the lowest number of daily Covid-19 cases reported since the middle of December.

Takeaway pints were never officially banned under Covid-19 restrictions but Taoiseach Micheál Martin called for them to stop being sold at the beginning of the current lockdown.

Pub and restaurant representative groups also asked their members to refrain from selling on-street alcohol when the country was put under Level 5 lockdown restrictions in December.

However, in recent weeks, the sale of takeaway pints has crept back in across the country in anticipation of restrictions on people meeting outdoors being relaxed from today.

The easing of restrictions on socialising outdoors, along with weather conditions improving, is expected to lead to more people drinking alcohol in parks and streets.

Takeaway pints bought from pubs and restaurants must be consumed at least 100m away from where they were purchased.

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Alcohol must be consumed at least 100m from where it was bought.

Alcohol must be consumed at least 100m from where it was bought.

Alcohol must be consumed at least 100m from where it was bought.

However, there is come confusion around laws on drinking alcohol in public, with local authority by-laws differing across the country.

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins called on the Government to issue "co-ordinated communications" around where people are permitted to drink alcohol outdoors.

"What does this 'outdoor summer' we keep hearing about actually look like?" Mr Cummins said.

"What is the Government's view on drinking on streets in the months ahead as better weather approaches?

"We can't be treating customers as criminals if they drink on the street and we need to have an open conversation about this."

He also criticised what he described as a lack of "uniformity" of local authority laws on drinking in public.

A Government spokesperson said: "The sale of takeaway pints by licensed premises is not illegal, but cannot be consumed within 100m of the premises.

"Public health advice is to avoid congregating with more than one household in an outdoors location, and to wear masks even when doing so."

There were two more deaths related to Covid-19 reported yesterday, with one occurring in March and one in April.

There were 303 new cases. A total of 213 patients with Covid-19 were hospitalised, of whom 53 were in intensive care units.

Dr Glynn said yesterday: "We had the lowest number of people newly hospitalised with Covid-19 since the end of November."

But he urged: "Please do not take our children returning to school tomorrow as a signal to return to the workplace."

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