This is an overview of Phase 1 of the Government’s “roadmap for modifying restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic”. Phase 1 is due to commence on the 18th May. There are 5 phases in total with a three week period between the commencement of each phase. Based on a 3 week review process, the current phases would commence on the following dates:
- Phase 1 – 18th May
- Phase 2 – 8th June
- Phase 3 – 29th June
- Phase 4 – 20th July
- Phase 5 – 10th August
Over the next few weeks we will be giving an overview of each of the phases here on our website. Our information here is taken from the “Roadmap for reopening society and business” document published on gov.ie
It is important to remember that “The National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET) Public Health Framework is a living document and will be subject to regular review in the context of the progression or suppression of the disease in Ireland at different points in time; new guidance and evidence which emanate from the research, experience and findings of international bodies and of other countries”.
There is no assurance that it is safe to reduce social distancing measures so this will remain in place and stricter measures will have to be reintroduced if there is a strong upsurge of infection rates. Ideally a ‘whole of country’ approach will be taken, but there could potentially be a differentiated geographical approach depending on circumstances (e.g. urban / rural).
The criteria for progressing from one phase to the next will depend on:
- Progress of disease
- Healthcare capacity / resilience
- Testing and contact tracing
- Shielding at-risk groups
- Secondary morbidity and mortality
Community Health Measures
Wearing of face coverings in community
Based on guidance to be announced before 18th May
‘Stay at home’ restriction
Continue to avoid unnecessary journeys
Small groups outdoors
Up to four people not of same household to meet outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing
Continue to avoid non-essential social visiting
Family-type social gatherings
Continue current restrictions on attendance at funerals to a maximum of ten people and only members of the household, close family or close friends if the deceased has no household or family members
Education & Childcare Measures
• DCYA-Supported in-reach service where registered childcare workers provide support in an essential healthcare worker’s home
• Opening of school and college buildings for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of remote learning
Health & Social Care Services Measures
Increasing delivery of “non-COVID-19” care and services alongside COVID-19-care. Across phases 1 and 2 increase delivery of non-COVID-19 care and services alongside COVID-19 care to meet demand through:
- Capacity planning for ongoing delivery of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care and services side by side, utilising modelling capability to assist in predicting demand for: primary, acute (including ICU), community, social care, mental health, disabilities and other services along the continuum of care.
- Implement measures to ensure safe delivery of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care and services side by side.
- Continue to deliver care and services in new ways (e.g. through telephone, online, virtual clinics etc) and new models of care to meet demand and to alleviate concerns of patients, service users and healthcare workers.
- Communication campaign with public to:
- encourage people to present for care when they need it,
- advise of health and social care services initiatives to reduce risk of contracting COVID-19, and
- what to expect in regard to non-COVID-19 care access.
- Implement activities to mitigate risk in the provision of care and services (in addition to social distancing. measures) such as the use of masks, personal protective equipment, testing and other measures that may emerge over time.
- Continue to support the mental health and wellbeing initiatives directed to meeting the diverse mental health and resilience needs of the public during these times.
- Continue to maintain mechanisms to provide community support to those in vulnerable groups.
No change to current restrictions
Economic Activity (Work)
Applying a risk-based approach:
- Permit phased return of outdoor workers (e.g. construction workers, gardeners, including people working on allotments). Social distancing requirements continue to apply.
- Continue to maintain remote working for all workers / businesses that can do so.
Retail, Personal Services and Commercial Activities
Applying a risk-based approach:
- Open retail outlets that are primarily outdoor (e.g. garden centres, hardware stores, farmers markets)
- Open retail outlets that were open in Tier 2 (e.g. homeware, opticians, motor, bicycle & repair, office products, electrical, IT, phone sales & repair etc.)
Retailers to develop plan for safe operation and protection of staff and customers considering:
- Social distancing compliance
- Hygiene and cleaning
- Compliance in higher risk situations
- Extended opening hours to enable social distancing
Cultural & Social Measures
Culture & Religious
- Open outdoor public amenities and tourism sites (e.g. carparks, beaches, mountain walks etc) where people are non-stationary and where social distancing can be maintained
- Open outdoor public sports amenities (e.g. pitches, tennis courts, golf courses etc) where social distancing can be maintained
- Permit people to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, either individually or in very small groups (maximum 4 people), where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact
Transport & Travel Measures
- Public health risks connected with travel include:
- Collective and time-bound nature of public transport;
- Numbers of vehicles (including private cars) travelling to specific destinations resulting in significant crowding at those locations and associated (e.g. urban areas, popular public amenities etc.) – which will require continued focus on social distancing and other hygiene requirements both while travelling and at destination
- Travel from areas of higher infection rate to areas of lower infection rate potentially increasing spread
- An ongoing requirement that people travelling in private transportation maintain social distancing and hygiene and compliance with other requirements when travelling and when at destinations
Transport and travel (National)
- Public transport providers & Local Authorities to provide detailed data on traveller numbers to enable monitoring of movement as part of data feed on assessing impact of lifting of measures