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Shopping centres and nursing homes reopened amid easing of lockdown measures

The Government had originally not envisaged reopening shopping centres until August 10 but it has been brought forward.

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Long queues outside Penneys on Mary Street in Dublin on Friday (Cate McCurry/PA)

Long queues outside Penneys on Mary Street in Dublin on Friday (Cate McCurry/PA)

Long queues outside Penneys on Mary Street in Dublin on Friday (Cate McCurry/PA)

Shopping centres have reopened and people are allowed to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and residential care facilities as lockdown measures continue to ease.

The Government had originally not envisaged reopening shopping centres until August 10 but it has been brought forward as coronavirus has been suppressed in recent weeks.

Last Monday, all retail shops reopened, with hundreds turning up to queue at major retailers such as Ikea and Zara.

Shopping centre owners have been given time to modify the inside of the buildings to ensure there can be safe social distancing.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Seating and dining areas will be removed to lessen dwell time among shoppers while people will be advised not to browse for long periods of time.

To enforce social distancing, there will be limits on the number of customers allowed into stores.

People will be allowed to visit nursing homes and residential care facilities following a ban on non-essential visits since early March.

Sage Advocacy, which campaigns for vulnerable people and patients, said people are “counting down the minutes to see their loved ones again”.

Executive director of Sage Advocacy Mervyn Taylor said many families had suffered heartbreak and loss during the pandemic.

He said: “We also recognise how difficult it has been for nursing staff, carers and all workers in care homes and residential care facilities.

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Marcela Benetti, a cleaner at one of the temporary public toilet facilities installed by Dublin City Council, on streets in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Marcela Benetti, a cleaner at one of the temporary public toilet facilities installed by Dublin City Council, on streets in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Marcela Benetti, a cleaner at one of the temporary public toilet facilities installed by Dublin City Council, on streets in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We need to learn important lessons from the impact of Covid-19 and acknowledge that it is time to integrate private nursing homes into the wider framework of health and social care and ensure that there are clear responsibilities for clinical and infection control oversight of all congregated care facilities for older people.”

People have been advised to ring ahead before they visit a nursing home and to wear a face covering and gloves, and visits should not last more than half an hour.

The Government has also launched a public information campaign on wearing face coverings.

They are not mandatory but people have been advised to wear them on public transport, in enclosed spaces and when visiting older people.

On Sunday, it was reported that one more person with Covid-19 died in Ireland, bringing the overall death toll to 1,706.

A further eight cases were confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 25,303.

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