Micheál Martin has told the nation that we will soon enjoy the “ordinary, extraordinary” moments in life.
The Taoiseach spoke after announcing the biggest relaxation of restrictions since the destructive third wave of Covid hit our shores late last year.
The devastating disease has claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 people since it was first discovered here just 15 months ago.
At the Taoiseach speech last night, he announced the return of pubs, hotels, restaurants, international travel, sports fans, concerts and other cultural events during the months of June, July and August.
Martin said that “if we take care of each other” as the country heads toward full vaccination, “the end is within reach.”
A few hours before the speech, the Cabinet officially gave the green light to allow people to return to the pubs from July 5.
The Government has also approved the reopening of international travel as of July 19 and the lifting of a charge plus confinement restrictions.
Movie theaters and gyms are back online starting Monday, June 7, and sports fans can finally return to the stadiums and grounds to cheer on their teams starting next month as well.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly promised yesterday morning that people would see the news of a reopening at a rate “beyond expectations” and the government delivered on that.
It was anticipated last month that hotels and guesthouses could accept bookings from ordinary guests starting June 2, which is next Wednesday, and that outdoor food and drink outside of bars and restaurants could resume from June 7.
Both measures were approved when the government fulfilled its promise.
Starting the week of Monday, you and five friends or family can sit outside a bar or restaurant and have a coffee, a pint, or a meal.
And you can stay as long as you want while keeping your distance of one meter from other groups.
Then on July 7, everything can move indoors, with the magic number of six applying indoors as well, with a maximum of 15 allowed in a group when kids are added.
There was also good news for couples planning weddings last night, with the confirmation that 25 will be allowed at a wedding reception on June 7, after 50 at the ceremony.
This will go back up from July 5 to 50 at a reception and to 100 in August.
On June 7, the cinemas will also reopen and you can go to the gym to train, but on your own.
Sports and entertainment will allow crowds of up to 500 to gather starting in July, with a possible 5,000 at some events in August.
There will also be a special pod concert in Phoenix Park on June 26, with up to 3,500 in total spread across the 100 acres of Europe’s largest public urban park.
It was confirmed that the skies will reopen for international travel before the end of July, on July 19, under the new EU Digital Green Certification rules.
This will allow sun worshipers to fly to European resorts for long-needed breaks, and will open up our unrivaled tourist attractions here to international visitors.
It will also allow family members living abroad to see their loved ones after months of being apart.
The Government will adopt the new EU Certificate as of July 19 and US tourists will be able to come here thereafter as the US is likely to be listed as a “partner” country.
Stephen Donnelly previously said that the latest lifting of the restrictions was due to the public’s “fantastic” adherence to public health guidelines and the success of the vaccine launch program.
The Taoiseach said in his address to the nation: “I have spoken many times about the strength found in solidarity and how handling the pandemic should be a collective effort.
“This next month could be the most important test of that spirit that we have faced since this ordeal began.
“Tonight, I have set the roadmap for the next few months.
“Our continued progress along that roadmap will depend on each of us thinking of all of us.
“We all want to get out of the restrictions, but that will require each of us, as individuals, business owners, arts and sports officials, as friends, neighbors and family, to adhere to the guidelines that are still in effect for the next period. .
“If we continue to worry each other, if we continue to make the right decisions, let’s be vigilant, let’s get vaccinated when our turn comes; if we continue to do all these things, the end of this is within our grasp. “