The Irish Government is to change its advice to the public from “stay home” to “stay local” from Monday.
It comes as it is set to approve the next phase of the country’s road map out of coronavirus lockdown later today.
The Cabinet met this morning to formally consider advice from experts on the National Public Health Emergency Team on whether phase two can begin on Monday as scheduled.
Business Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed the message would be changing to “stay local”.
On the day the Government meets to consider moving to Phase 2 of our reopening roadmap, the number of patients with #Covid19 in hospitals has fallen again. It is now 140. This is thanks to YOU. Your efforts have helped keep so many well & saved many lives pic.twitter.com/OGHGJCtYA1— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) June 5, 2020
“It will be stay local and I would also ask people to shop local and stay safe,” she told RTE Morning Ireland.
In the original road map, phase two would see some workplaces and small retail outlets reopen; the distance restriction on exercise extended from 5km to 20km; and people allowed to visit the homes of those cocooning, as long as personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing are used.
Up to four people would also be allowed to visit other households, while sports teams could resume non-contact training in small groups.
The Government will also announce changes to the 350 euro weekly Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment.
Ms Humphreys said it will be extended “for months and not weeks”.
She said that no-one who was working full time before the pandemic will see the payment cut but that part-time workers will see “some changes”.
Asked if part-time workers will be put on the standard unemployment payment of 203 euro per week, Ms Humphreys said: “Part-time workers, they will not be worse off than when they are working.”
She added: “There are anomalies in the scheme and they are well documented… someone who was working for a couple of hours on a Saturday were entitled to get the 350 euro payment and that was not sustainable so there will be changes to that.”
Ministers also met in Dublin on Thursday night to discuss lockdown relaxations and, afterwards, Health Minister Simon Harris said all the indicators looked “very good” for a move out of phase one.
Mr Harris said along with the steps outlined for phase two in the road map document, he also anticipated some further relaxations in regard to children and older people.
The coronavirus death toll in Ireland rose to 1,664 on Thursday, after a further five deaths were announced.
There were 38 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, taking the total since the outbreak began to 25,142.