Lots of light at the end of the tunnel as lockdown exit is fast-tracked. PHOTO: Siobhán McNamara
One of the biggest challenges of lockdown has without doubt not being able to see our loved ones.
So news late last week that the lockdown exit was being fast-tracked was hugely welcomed by many people.
Instead of travel restrictions being increased to 20km from Monday as per the original plan, it has been extended to allow people to travel anywhere within their own county.
It also allows visits to over 70s as long as hygiene guidelines are followed.
It was therefore particularly special for my family to celebrate our father's birthday. He lives within my 5K and I had seen him regularly. But this was the first time those of us living in the county had been able to come together as a family in many months.
I have been speaking to other people who have this week visited parents and other loved ones for the first time since lockdown began. And while we are all still missing hugs, being able to get together in any way is very welcome.
No doubt there have been many emotional reunions.
The fast-track has also led to more businesses opening that had been previously planned. Walking through town on Monday, it was most uplifting to see shop doors that had been firmly closed finally open.
There was an air of cautious optimism among those opening up and those venturing out for their shopping.
Many people have also welcomed a return to work after months at home.
It seems to have been a slow start to the week from a shopping point of view, but it is getting slightly busier as the days go by.
With sporting activities also resuming, there is certainly a buzz of activity going on. Caution is still needed but all going well, life will continue moving towards a relative normal.
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