The Cabinet will tomorrow consider a plan to reopen society and the economy across May and June.

It followed advice received by the Government from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

The Cabinet Covid sub-committee met in Government Buildings tonight, to consider NPHET'S recommendations on the easing of restrictions in May, June and July.

Under the plan people will be able to travel across the country from 10 May.

On the same date hairdressers will reopen for appointments, along with click and collect retail and team sports training will resume.

Up to 50 people will be allowed attend religious services including weddings, funerals and masses.

However, indoor wedding parties will remain capped at six guests and 15 for outdoor celebrations.

On 10 May also, three households can meet outdoors including in private gardens and a vaccinated household can meet an unvaccinated one indoors.

This is to allow grandparents in particular meet their extended families.

Three vaccinated households can also meet indoors.

Outdoor events with up to 15 people will be allowed from this date.

On 17 May all shops will be able to reopen and on 2 June hotels and guesthouses will be open again.

Outdoor hospitality including restaurants and all pubs will open on 7 June.

Sports matches will also resume on that day, but no crowds will be allowed to attend. Gyms and swimming pools are also to reopen on that date.

Following the meeting at Government Buildings, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said that the Cabinet will not depart from NPHET's advice on easing restrictions.

He said that he did not want to talk about details of easing restrictions as the full Cabinet needed to decide the matter. The minister said that it was imperative to keep vaccination numbers up and infection numbers down.

Mr Ryan said that there may be "a couple of things that people hadn't expected" when it comes to easing restrictions, but that the plan is broadly in line with what had been predicted.

Speaking on his way into the meeting, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he had a "very positive conversation" with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn.

Mr Donnelly said: "The good news is, we're in a good place.

"People have stuck with the public health advice, by European standards we're doing well and we've been doing well for some time and what it means is that this evening we can have a positive conversation."

The minister also said he is concerned about people's mental health and the isolation that people had to deal with.

"Certainly the kind of measures we're going to be talking about tonight will address those things.

"So I think ultimately huge credit goes to the nation, to the Irish people for sticking with this, for putting Ireland in a good position so that we can have the kind of conversation we need to have now, while some other countries around the world, including in Europe, are having much more difficult conversations," Mr Donnelly said.

He said that the recommendations being discussed "go a long way to addressing the isolation that a lot of people have felt, go a long way to addressing the mental health stresses and strains and issues that people have had."

While he said that he would not pre-empt what decisions will be made tonight and what the Cabinet will decide tomorrow, Mr Donnelly said in terms of recommendations being brought "there are a few nice things in there".

Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that there will be incremental changes over time, to ensure decisions do not have to be reversed.

Asked if the theme of summer will be outdoors, he said: "Let's wait and see", adding that decisions will be made with caution.

However, Mr Coveney said he hoped there would be "momentum through the summer" which would instill more confidence and optimism across society.


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The most recent official advice to the Government from NPHET described the overall situation as fragile, and that any increase in close contacts would represent a significant risk.

Speaking on Shannonside radio this morning, the Taoiseach said "whatever we open we want to keep open and that is the challenge".

In relation to the vaccination programme, Micheál Martin said there will be substantial administration of vaccines this week and throughout May and June.

He said that the Government has set some significant milestones and the vaccine rollout is having a big impact, which is important in terms of reopening society.

Asked about criticism by some party backbenchers on the pandemic strategy, Mr Martin said there has been a very clear strategy that has worked, people have responded to it, and by adhering to restrictions Ireland now has one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 infections in Europe.

Additional reporting Paul Cunningham