Some parts of Ireland’s economy could reopen ahead of the plan if the COVID-19 situation remains under control, Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris told Reuters on Wednesday. The minister expressed cautious optimism regarding phase two of the country’s reopening plan on June 8.
Ireland partially reopened some sectors on Monday. This act was the first of five stages which are among one of the most conservative plans in Europe for easing down restrictions imposed in late March.
The number of new COVID-19 cases has been below 100 for four successive days for the first time since March 18.
“Anecdotally, my sense is we’re doing well with the lifting of the restrictions… I think that there are reasons for cautious optimism,” Harris stated, addressing the question of when the country could proceed to phase two.
Building sites, garden stores and repair shops were in the first group of businesses allowed to reopen on Monday. At the same time, people were permitted to meet in non-household groups of four in the outdoors after seven weeks.
At the same time, pubs will have to wait until Aug 10 and are already urging the government to move their reopening sooner due to devastating financial losses. Harris stated the government had an open mind on when each sector can be reopened. However, they are planning to retain the planned three-week gap between each stage so the experts can monitor for any changes in the spread of the virus.
“If the virus is going well, could you look at something in phase four and say bring it to phase three? In theory, yes, but everything is phased based on the potential risk and it will all depend on how people are able to modify that activity,” Harris stated.