Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the Government will continue with the easing of restrictions, citing the State’s high rates of vaccination.
Mr Martin said on Friday health officials estimate that close to 90 per cent of Irish people aged 16 and over will be vaccinated by September 6th.
“The vaccination programme has been an incredible success,” he said.
Health officials had recommended that the Government wait for that 90 per cent target to be reached before contemplating any major easing of restrictions.
Speaking after a meeting of the Covid-19 Cabinet sub-committee, Mr Martin said: “We are very close, in the next number of weeks, to reaching the optimal number we can reach in terms of vaccination.”
He encouraged anyone not already vaccinated to register for a vaccine.
“Government wants to reopen society, but we want to do it in a safe way. That is our key message and our key objective,” Mr Martin said.
The Taoiseach said that discussions will continue before the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with the sub-committee meeting again on Monday.
“We can certainly see a lifting of restrictions in some areas in terms of entertainment and theatre and the arts in September,” he told reporters.
He said that the timeline for the reopening of nightclubs would be “deliberated upon”.
Mr Martin confirmed that the Government was looking at increasing the number of people able to attend outdoor events, but declined to give specific details of how such events would be managed.
He did indicate the Government is not considering introducing vaccination certificates for outdoor events – he said that Ireland’s high vaccine uptake rates meant that such documents will not be necessary.
Mr Martin confirmed that by Tuesday the Government would have a plan and a road map ready for the coming months.
“I think September will be a significant month,” Mr Martin predicted.