11 May / 2020

Government Roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions

By Jamie – 6th Form

Phase 1 (18 May) 

  • allow outdoor meetings between people from different households 
  • open childcare for healthcare workers 
  • phased return of outdoor workers 
  • open retailers which are primarily outdoor or those which were open during first level of restriction (e.g. opticians) 
  • opening of certain outdoor public amenities 

Phase 2 (8 June) 

  • allow visits to households 
  • develop plans and supports to open up business with consideration for safety of staff and customers 
  • open small retail outlets and marts where social distancing can be observed 
  • open public libraries 

Phase 3 (29 June) 

  • allow small social gatherings 
  • opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers in phased manner 
  • return to work for those with low levels of interaction 
  • open non-essential retail outlets with street level entrance and exit 
  • open playgrounds 

Phase 4 (20 July) 

  • opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of all other workers on a gradually increasing basis 
  • return to work for those who cannot work from home 
  • gradual easing of restrictions for higher risk services (e.g. Hairdressers) 
  • opening of museums, galleries, places of worship 

Phase 5 (10 August) 

  • allow larger social gatherings 
  • return to work across all sectors 
  • on a phased basis, commencing at the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021, opening of primary and secondary schools and 3rd level institutions 
  • further easing of restrictions on high risk retail services 

The phases the Government have proposed are a roadmap to get our lives back to normal. It is well structured and has been thought out smartly but in my opinion it’s not going to work.  Most of the population are social distancing, staying at home and keeping good hygiene. That is all very good to keep in mind and practise and will help to stop the spread of the virus, but it will not eradicate the Covid 19.  

In the United States, notwithstanding that they have the largest number of Covid 19 cases and deaths, which are continuing to rise every day, some States are beginning to ease restrictions. The number of cases is continuing to grow. In Italy, companies trading with China had to bring their workers home because of the coronavirus. They brought the virus back to Italy where it spread exponentially and now, they are still finding people dead in their houses. 

In China, the Chinese Government did not inform other countries about the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Wuhan early enough. If they had, we would probably not be in the position of fighting a global pandemic now. 

In my opinion the Irish Government are trying to convince the Irish public that they will have Covid 19 under control. They are proposing this roadmap so that the public can get back to normal life but we have a long way to go until this global pandemic is over. It could take a year, 2 years or 5 years until it is over. 

In summary the Government’s roadmap is well thought out but aspirational. It remains to be seen whether life can return to normal within the time period proposed in the roadmap.

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