Hairdressers, non-essential retail and religious services will be prioritised under a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions next month.
In addition to the return of some outdoor activities next week, The Irish Times reports that the Taoiseach signalled decisions which may come into effect in May include those on hairdressing, retail, adult non-contact sport, and religious services.
Micheál Martin told a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night that “hairdressers and barbers have suffered a lot and will be prioritised.”
He added that click-and-collect services and non-essential retail are likely to resume in May.
Decisions would be made closer to June on hotel and guest houses, he said.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Martin also ruled out any international travel for leisure during the early months of summer, indicating it was too early to make such decisions.
“We are conscious that numbers have to be kept down. There is a variant out there that is very transmissible. That is the context,” he said.
The Government will make a detailed statement next week on what areas of society can open in May and June, the Taoiseach added.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary party meeting also heard that the first widespread use of antigen testing in Ireland could happen later this year on students returning to third-level campuses and on spectators attending sporting fixtures.
“Young people have missed out a lot and their third-level experience and education has been disrupted for nearly two years,” Mr Martin said.
“We need to change that in the next academic year. Antigen testing will play its part in allowing students back.”
There was a call for antigen testing to be allowed for Leinster’s forthcoming home games by Dublin Bay South TD Jim O’Callaghan.
Mr Martin also informed the meeting that the European Commission is pre-purchasing vaccines and booster doses to tackle new variants that might arise later this year and into 2022 and 2023.
Wednesday saw 15 additional deaths related to Covid-19 in Ireland, as well as 401 new cases of the virus.
The country’s five-day moving average of cases now stands at 376, while the national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population is now 113.4.
The latest figures show 179 people with the disease in hospital, 47 of whom were in ICU.
As of April 19th, a total of 1,219,487 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in Ireland.
Some 863,958 people have received their first dose, while 355,529 people have received two doses.