- in Environment
Pubs and bars that serve food, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and barbers can reopen from Monday in the Republic of Ireland.
These businesses can open provided they can observe social distancing as the country continues to relax its Covid-19 lockdown.
Over the weekend, business owners made last minute preparations for customers returning.
The move is part of phase three of a four-stage reopening plan.
Sreyeesh Garimella was one several walk-in customers in desperate need of a hair cut waiting outside Grafton Barbers in the Donnybrook area of Dublin on Monday morning.
He said: “The past three months have been unbearable, so I’m really looking forward to getting it trimmed down.”
Helen O’Keefe, the head of education at the Peter Mark chain of hair salons, said it was great to see queues of customers after the shutters went up at 08:00 local time.
She said: “It’s so exciting, the clients were so excited and the teams are excited just to back to doing what we as hairdressers do best, doing hair.”
Environment ‘Milestone event’
The chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association that represents Dublin publicans welcomed the development as “a milestone event”.
Donall O’Keeefe said: “There has been a strong interest from the public, with a significant level of customer bookings confirmed for the opening week.
“There is a demand out there for the reopening and it will now be up to each individual pub to make sure they provide an environment that maintains public confidence and allows them to continue to trade.”
Ronan Flood, the co-owner of Oscars Cafe Bar in Dublin, said he was “absolutely thrilled” to reopen, even if it was only at 60% capacity because of social distancing.
Pubs which are reopening must serve food to the value of at least €9 (£8) and customers are only allowed to stay a maximum of one hour and 45 minutes.
Mr Flood said: “Because food would be 70% of our business we’re not going to experience any issues with that.
“As regards the one hour and 45 minutes we think that’s impractical and unenforceable and we think that’s the biggest challenge we face”.
From Monday, people will also be able to travel all over the country. Until now there was a 20km (12.5 mile) restriction on movement, or anywhere in one’s own county.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who has ministerial responsibility for transport in the new coalition government formed at the weekend with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, has urged people to holiday at home this year.
Places of worship, hotels, museums, cinemas, galleries, theatres and music venues can also reopen in line with social distancing rules.
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson welcomed the reopening, but said: “The relaxation of restrictions brings a new urgency for personal responsibility”.
He urged congregations to continue “to comply with the requirements of social distancing, hand hygiene and other provisions designed to ensure the safety of all members of society, particularly those who are vulnerable.”
Up to 50 people can gather indoors and up to 200 outdoors.
All sporting activity can also resume from today but individual sporting organisations will have decide how best to proceed.
Crèches, childminders and preschools are reopening for children of all workers who need childcare to return to work.
Children will be grouped into pods, of between six and 12, to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.
The final phase of the relaxation is due on 20 July when pubs, bars and hotel bars can reopen without having to serve food.
From that date, up to 100 people will be able to gather indoors and 500 outdoors.