Government publishes roadmap for reopening

Patrick Whelan

May 06 2020

The Government recently published its Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. The roadmap outlines plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society over the course of five three-week phases. The first of these begins on Monday May 18th.

When you get to reopen your doors will depend on the industry you’re in and the feasibility of introducing social distancing measures in your workplace.  

To help you get a better understanding of the roadmap, we take a look at the key dates and implications.

Phase 1: Begins Monday 18/05/2020

Schools and colleges will be open for teachers to allow them to carry out remote learning. The phasing in of outdoor workers i.e. gardeners, construction workers, will begin while remote working will continue for all workers that can do so. Certain retail operations that are primarily outdoor, such as garden centres, homeware stores and farmer’s markets can reopen.

Opticians, motor and bicycle repair shops, office products, electrical, IT, phone sales & repair will be permitted to open subject to compliance with social distancing. Pitches, golf courses and tennis courts can also be reopened subject to compliance with social distancing. Childcare facilities will reopen for healthcare workers.

Phase 2: Begins Monday 08/06/2020

A limited return to onsite working activity will be permitted in Phase 2 provided employees can comply with social distancing guidelines. Remote working continues for all that can do so. More small retail outlets will be permitted to open subject to compliance with social distancing.

Businesses will need to develop plans for a return to onsite working by taking the following into consideration:

  • Social distancing compliance.
  • Hygiene and cleaning.
  • Compliance in higher risk situations.
  • Plans for medically vulnerable or pregnant people.
  • Extended opening hours to enable social distancing.

Phase 3: Begins Monday 29/06/2020

In Phase 3, childcare facilities will be permitted to look after children of essential workers. More businesses with low interaction work will be permitted to reopen while remote working continues for all that can do so. Non-essential retail outlets with street level access will be reopened. Shopping centres will remain closed. Cafés and restaurants that serve on premises food will be allowed to reopen subject to compliance with social distancing and strict cleaning protocols. Public transport restrictions in major urban centres may still be in place to ensure compliance with social distancing.  

Phase 4: Begins Monday 20/07/2020

Phase 4 will see childcare facilities reopening for children of all workers on a gradually increasing phased basis, i.e. one day per week. Employees who cannot work remotely are to be considered first for a return to onsite working. Depending on the type of operations in your business, measures such as shift work and staggered hours should be implemented to increase the number of workers available for work in any 24-hour period. As long as you can limit the number of workers interacting with each other, employees should be able to resume their normal work duties. Remote working continues for all workers or businesses that can do so.

More high-risk services involving direct physical contact, i.e. hairdressers, will be allowed to reopen. Hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks will be permitted to reopen on a limited occupancy basis. Hotel bars will remain closed during this phase.

Public transport restrictions in major urban centres will gradually be lifted.  

Phase 5: Begins Monday 10/08/2020

The last stage is planned for August and involves a phased return to work across all sectors. ‘Higher risk’ organisations which, by their nature cannot easily maintain social distancing, will need to implement plans outlining how they can progress towards the onsite return of their full workforce. Remote working for all workers or businesses that can do so will also continue.

Enclosed shopping centres will reopen subject to complying with social distancing measures. Bars, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres along with gyms, events, festivals and outdoor gatherings will all resume as part of the final phase.

Possibility of restrictions being reintroduced

The roadmap is subject to continuous review during and between each phase. The government has confirmed that the restrictions could be modified based on the results of their regular assessments. If the lifting of restrictions leads to an increased level of transmission of the disease, restrictions could be reintroduced.

Need our help with reopening?

As the return to work will present many and varied challenges, we’re here to help guide you through the HR and health & safety aspects of reopening.

For further complimentary advice from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 0818 923 923 or request a callback here.

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