The Government is considering proposals to incentivise promoters to limit outdoor events to vaccinated people by offering them an increased capacity.

It is understood ministers will not legislate to limit such gatherings to vaccinated people in the same way as the Covid passes have been used for indoor dining.

The option of asking event organisers to volunteer to hold larger events for vaccinated people was discussed at today's Covid Committee meeting.

The Government is aiming to gradually lift legal regulations leaving guidelines and public health advice in their place.

The use of vaccination certificates for theatres is also under consideration as well as other indoor activities like bowling and bingo.

There is also expected to be increased mourners allowed at funerals.

The phased return to work could happen from 13 September or later dates of 20 or 27 September.

It is understood there was much support at the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 for a phased resumption for the live events sector beginning sometime next month.

The committee will meet again on Monday to finalise details before an announcement is made on Tuesday.

Communions and confirmations will also come back in September.

The committee was given a thorough presentation on the current Covid-19 situation, and heard that 87% of over-18s now fully vaccinated.

There is still a high prevalence of the Delta variant and the Government expects numbers to go up.

They will monitor closely, and they will plan the roadmap, knowing that numbers are still expected to peak.

The Committee will reconvene on Monday after nearly four hours of discussions.

Some elements of reopening have been agreed today but more remains to be finalised.

The Taoiseach has said Ireland could have close to 90% of people aged over 16 fully vaccinated by the week commencing 6 September.

Speaking at Government Buildings this evening, Micheál Martin said a full plan to reopen the economy and society would be delivered next Tuesday.

He said that he expects to see an easing of restrictions in areas such as live entertainment, theatre and the arts next month.

The Taoiseach also said businesses were eager to receive a timeline regarding the return to the workplace and that Government will provide that timeline.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said there was broad agreement among other Ministers on the Cabinet committee for a phased easing of restrictions over the next two months.

He would not be drawn on specific restrictions that might be eased, except to say that he expects capacity on public transport will return to 100% next week.


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Earlier, the Minister for Health said he does not believe any particular vaccination rate needs to be reached in order to facilitate a widespread easing of restrictions.

It comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team has called for 90% of over 16s to be fully vaccinated before a further widespread easing of restrictions.

Yesterday the Health Service Executive said more than 84% of people aged 16 and over were fully vaccinated while 90.3% had received their first dose.

Minister Stephen Donnelly has said Ireland was heading towards a vaccination rate of over 90% for over-16s "anyway".

"I don't think we need to get up on a particular figure - be it 90%, 87%, 93% - we're getting there," he told reporters as he arrived at Government Buildings for a meeting of the Cabinet Covid Committee.

Pressure on hospitals at the moment is currently manageable but "very real", he said, adding that Government is looking at concerning trends in the UK, including in Northern Ireland.

The Government has promised a new roadmap setting out a timeline for lifting restrictions, including limits on live events, religious services and exercise classes.

The full Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to sign-off on the new roadmap.

Before the meeting, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin said she would like to see an easing of restrictions for musicians and artists in September.

Arriving at Government Buildings, Minister Martin said she will be exploring all options to facilitate the return of indoor events also, adding that 80% capacity is important in her view, in order for such events to be viable.

Ms Martin said the target of 90% of over-16s to be vaccinated is "a very hard target to reach".

Regarding Electric Picnic, Ms Martin said that she will be exploring "all possible options" to allow it to return.

She noted that there is a "planning issue" but said she would like to see what can be done to allow the festival to go ahead.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said he believes a lot of restrictions can be eased in September, but that the majority will be lifted in October.

The Green Party leader said there will be immediate measures that Government will be hoping to implement, but that ministers will be mindful of public health advice.

Minister Ryan said that a return to 100% capacity on public transport would be something he would like to see happen in September.

He added that this would "make sense" as people return to school, college and the workplace.

Mr Ryan referred to confirmations and communions as another example of other events that he would like to see return next month.

Confirmations might return before communions, he added.

Additional reporting Tommy Meskill