The Republic of Ireland began reopening non-essential shops and businesses for the first time since December of last year. The Irish government eased COVID-19 regulations such as reopening of shopping centers and of personal services such as hairdressers. To prepare for the likely demand, businesses in the country are planning to offer late opening hours. Tánaiste (Irish deputy Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar urged the citizens to shop for local products while still following safety measures against COVID-19. Under the government’s roadmap, hotels, hostels, and self-caterings will reopen from June 2. From June 7, restaurants, bars, gyms, and leisure centers will follow.

Ireland’s industry body, Retail Excellence, told the media that the reopening was possible because of the government’s effective vaccine rollout. The Irish government assured the industry that it will not be “going backwards” after this week’s reopening. Damien English, Ireland’s Minister for Business, Employment, and Retail, said that it had been a “long road” for businesses to reopen after more than five months. English said that the public should be careful and protect their health against viruses. He added that everyone must cooperate for everything to return to normal.