Office returns are to begin within weeks under a roadmap for the phased easing of remaining Covid-19 restrictions.
The roadmap also includes a phased easing of restrictions on the number of people that can attend outdoor events, with the Government saying it intends to engage with the organisers of Electric Picnic over the weekend.
The Irish Times reports that confirmations and communions are also to be allowed to resume in September, under plans discussed by senior ministers today.
The Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee met for around four hours on Friday to develop the plan that will chart Ireland’s course out of pandemic restrictions.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Minister for Transport and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that there would be a “gradual, phased” reopening throughout September and October.
The full Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to confirm a detailed roadmap for the coming weeks.
“There is nothing specific agreed today and we’ve agreed to meet again on Monday as a Cabinet sub-committee on Monday and then as a Cabinet on Tuesday,” Mr Ryan said.
He suggested that September will see the return of full-capacity public transport, as well as the first communion and confirmation ceremonies allowed to take place.
Mr Ryan also said that the live music industry can expect to return in September, although he declined to give details about what that return might look like.
Agreed in principle
The sub-committee today received presentations on the most recent advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), the progress of the vaccine programme and the current situation of the health services, the Government said in a statement.
“At Monday’s meeting, the draft plan will be discussed, prior to full Cabinet consideration on Tuesday,” the statement said.
“There will be further engagement over the weekend across Government and also with the organisers of Electric Picnic.”
The Irish Times reports that minsters today agreed in principle that the return to offices can begin in September, though the date for this to start has not yet been signed off on.
Confirmations and Communions will also be allowed to be held again at some point next month.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly declined to fully back a suggestion that the vast majority of Irish people aged 16 and over need to be vaccinated before a significant easing of restrictions can take place.
It has been reported that Nphet has recommended 90 per cent of over-16s should be fully vaccinated before a significant easing of restrictions.
“I don’t think we need to get up on a particular figure, be it 90 per cent, 87 per cent, 93 per cent. We’re getting there or thereabouts anyway,” Mr Donnelly said.
Also ahead of the meeting, Minister for Culture Catherine Martin told reporters she wants to see an easing of restrictions for the live music industry in September.