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Taoiseach sets out new plan ‘The Path Ahead’ with extension of Level 5 lockdown

The phased reopening of schools, childcare and other non-Covid health services the only differences to current restrictions.

The Taoiseach Micheál martin has set out the government plans for the next few months along with the announcement that Level 5 restrictions remain in place until at least the 5th of April.

The new government plan is called ”COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead”.

The current public health restrictions will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted.

Measures to support business and those unable to work due to the pandemic will be extended further with the EWSS, PUP and Covid enhanced illness benefit applicable to June 30th.

If the transmission of the virus reaches acceptable levels, the vaccination programme progresses as planned and public health advice allows, further options that will be considered from April 5th are:

  • Some easing of restrictions on outdoor activities and meetings beyond 1 other household;
  • Consideration of extending the current 5km limit;
  • Staggered start of easing of other areas of restriction with a focus on outdoor activities including sport and some areas of construction.

n his speech the Taoiseach said: 22

Between now and 5th April, Ireland will remain within Level 5 restrictions.

However, there will be three very important differences between the coming 6 weeks and the Level 5 period we have just been through.

Firstly, we will start the phased and safe return of in-school education.

From 1st March, we will re-open our schools for junior infants to second class, and Leaving Certificate students. This will involve the return of over 320,000 pupils.

This reopening will be monitored, and the plan then will be for all outstanding classes in Primary Schools and 5th years in Secondary Schools to return on the 15th March.

The aim then is for all outstanding classes to return after the Easter break.

Secondly, we will expand the reopening of childcare. From 8th March, the early childhood pre-school programme will reopen for all participating children; and

From 29th March, subject to public health advice, other restrictions will be lifted so that all other children can return to early learning and childcare services.

Thirdly, we will resume Non-Covid health and social care services over the coming weeks.

In advance of 5th April, we will then review the situation.  ”