Government is set to “signal” a return to outdoor sports and other outside activities in the new Living with Covid plan.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will present the revised plan on Tuesday, which it is understood will be a “cautious” one.
Following public outcry after the Mirror revealed that restrictions are with us until the end of April, the Government is worried about the effect this could have on our mental health.
And senior Cabinet sources have told Dublin Live that the revised roadmap will feature a commitment to getting people active outside as soon as possible as part of this.
It is still accepted that there will be very little good news in Tuesday’s revised plan though, with one Minister telling Dublin Live: “We’re going to be conservative, cautious about this.”
Golf, tennis and other non-contact outdoor sports and training are all going to be considered as part of the next step in reopening the country.
However, nothing aside from schools will have reopened after March 5th, the date the current lockdown was supposed to finish.
The understanding is that people need some hope after Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, infamously revealed in an interview with this paper on Friday that “significant restrictions” are with us until the end of April.
But, as one minister put it to Dublin Live: “people will go crazy” with nothing to look forward to, and although no dates will be mentioned in the plan, sport is being prioritised.
This tallies with what senior NPHET figure, Dr Philip Nolan, said when he told RTE’s This Week that some form of social mixing is required to help people “stay sane.”
He also said we need to prepare for “an outdoor summer.”
Sadly, there will be no reprieve for business in the new plan, with most businesses to remain shuttered for months to come.
The same can be said for hospitality, with all pubs and restaurants to remain closed until at least June.
And travel limits of 5kms for everything except essential travel are expected to remain locked in place for the foreseeable future.
A source told Dublin Live: “Schools are the first priority, we have to get that right first and then we will see how we go.
“But then, based on reviews, the intention is for outdoor activities to be prioritised.
“We know that outdoor activities and sport outdoors are safer than indoor, and we are keen to start reopening society, so sport and safe outdoor activities will be signalled by the Government this week.”
The Department of Sport conducted “an experiment” in November, the source told the Mirror, where over 40 sporting bodies participated.
A source at the Department of Sport said: “This went well.”
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Earlier this month in an interview with the Mirror, Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, also indicated that golf and other sports are a priority for him.
The Tánaiste said: “In terms of what’s safest, it is the outdoor activities.”
Source: Dublin News