When will Ireland start to re-open?

As we approach the warmer summer months with cases slowly decreasing, the question is when will Ireland be out of Level 5 and start to re-open again? 

Katrina O’Donoghue is worried about the future of the Kerry hair salon she has worked hard at maintaining over the last 30 years. Hanging on with pandemic unemployment payments, she is just able to cover her rent. 

“Not one Covid case was tracked back to hair salons and beauticians,” O’Donoghue tells The Liberty.

“There is still no advised plan from the Government about the plans to re-open the country at all – an approximation would put people’s minds at rest. At the moment if feels like it’s never ending.” 

It is particularly hard for businesses in rural areas that rely on tourism. “A lot of businesses around here rely on the busy summer for the rest of the year,” she says.

Ireland was put into Level 5 restrictions again on Christmas Eve – restrictions that will continue until at least April 5th, Easter Monday. In December, Ireland had some of the lowest Covid levels in Europe. However, by January cases had soared to nearly 8,000 daily as a result of the pre-Christmas loosening of lockdowns.   

Daily Covid cases in Ireland. Image source: Yahoo

As shown in the graph, Covid spread faster after Christmas than it did at any other stage throughout this pandemic. 

To avoid this happening again, Taoiseach Micháel Martin has hinted that the hospitality sector might not open until mid-summer, when the vaccination process has improved. 

Sectors such as hairdressers have received no indication about when they will be able to re-open, and are getting fed up of the slow rollout of the vaccination process. 

Micheál Martin said that no dates have been given to avoid further disappointment as we are in unpredictable times, with new variants appearing at unexpected times. 

Ireland has however, followed other countries, such as the UK, and prioritised the re-opening of schools. 

Unlike British prime minister Boris Johnson, who predicts all restrictions there will end by June 21st,  Ireland is yet to introduce a plan out of lockdown. 

Over 23 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, whereas as of March 10th, only 409,662 people in the Republic of Ireland have received their first dose, proportionately less than a third of the UK rate.

“My 82 year old father with a serious lung condition has not had his Covid-19 vaccine,” O’Donoghue told The Liberty in early March. “Yet there are students entirely working online who have had it. It seems a bit unfair.” 

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