Just this past May 4, 2021, Raidió Teilifís Éireann reported that the Taoiseach (head of government) of Ireland announced that it has sorted out plans to start reopening the country this May 2021. Starting on May 10, residents will be allowed to travel across the country, from region to region and city to city. On the same day, cultural attractions such as galleries, museums, and libraries will be allowed to welcome guests again. While beautician establishments like beauty salons and barbers can start operating again only by appointment.
Starting May 10, 2021, places of worship can resume holding religious services but can only invite not more than 50 people at a time. As for weddings, they can now take place provided that the number of invited guests remains limited. For outdoor weddings, only 15 guests are allowed to attend while for indoor ceremonies, the guest limit is capped at only six. By May 17, 2021, all shops, regardless of the nature of business, will be allowed to reopen. Provided, of course, that they still require social distancing and impose necessary health protocols for all guests and customers.
The following month will also see a lot of reopenings and things getting back to normal. On June 2, 2021, for example, accommodations such as hotels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, and guesthouses can start allowing guests to book and reserve rooms again. On June 7, 2021, on the other hand, restaurants and pubs can also reopen provided they only allow 50% capacity for indoor establishments. At the same time, gyms, fitness centers, and community pools will be allowed to operate again, especially for individual training.
Notably, plans for getting back to normal have actually already started. As Dublin Live reported, Irish Rail resumed its full schedule of operations just this past May 4, 2021. It was the first time any mode of public transportation in Ireland operated again since January 11, 2021. However, public transit is only allowed to carry 20% capacity of passengers for now. By May 10, 2021, it can start boarding up to 50% capacity. 'We are still very significantly down obviously from normal times but as each level of restrictions is opened up, numbers grow somewhat so the full timetable will allow us to cater for that.' stated Barry Kenny, Corporate Communications Manager of Irish Rail.
For a lot of international travelers, the timing of the plan couldn't be more perfect since June is when the EU will finally release its Digital Green Certificates. Announced back in March, this is a new vaccine passport system that will allow travelers to move freely within the EU. The certificate will stand as proof that the traveler has either been vaccinated, tested negative, or has fully recovered from Covid-19. They do not, however, serve as alternatives for valid passports or Schengen Visas. Both are still required to enter Ireland alongside the new Digital Green Certificate.