Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced a number of measures that will allow for a further reopening of the economy and society during June, July and August.

The measures were approved by Cabinet at its meeting earlier today.

Speaking during an announcement at Government Buildings, Mr Martin said the strategy to combat Covid-19 was working and that "the end of this is within our grasp".

The Taoiseach said it was clear that Ireland and its people were embracing the national vaccination programme, given that over half of the eligible population will have received a dose by next Monday.

He said that the best evidence of Ireland's trust in science was the high uptake of vaccines. "Now, the challenge is to keep moving forward, safely," he said.

Mr Martin said that continued progress in the battle against coronavirus was not inevitable. "Change brings risks," he said.

He said that there was still a journey to go with the vaccination programme, and that the Government was monitoring very closely the impact that the different variants will have on the spread of the virus, in particular the variant that was first detected in India.

From 2 June hotels can reopen, followed by outdoor service at restaurants and pubs from 7 June.

Cinemas and gyms will also reopen on this date and outdoor sports matches can take place.

From this date, there will also be an incremental return of driving test centres and a phased reopening of day centres for older people, while 25 people can also attend a wedding celebration or reception.

In relation to outdoor events, from 7 June up to 200 people can attend outdoor venues with a minimum capacity of 5,000. A maximum of 100 people can gather for a majority of outdoor events.

From 5 July, bar and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors again and 50 people can attend a wedding celebration or reception.

There will be an increase in the number of people able to attend outdoor events, with a maximum of 500 people in venues with a minimum capacity of 5,000.

A maximum of 50 people will be able to attend the majority of indoor venues, while 100 can attend events in larger venues with strict public health measures in place.

There will be a further relaxation on visits to private homes and indoor exercise and sport activities will return.

Subject to continued progress in the virus, from 5 August there will be a further increase numbers attending indoor events, with 200 in larger venues and 100 in all others.

There will also be a further increase in numbers attending outdoor events.

The 50% capacity restriction on public transport will be lifted, and 100 guests can attend weddings.

The Taoiseach also said that there will be a number of pilot entertainment and sporting events in June and early July.

The pilot events include large and small gigs in many genres ranging from classical to electronic music, along with sports fixtures at locations across the country during June and July.

In relation to international travel, the Taoiseach said that Ireland will begin operating the EU Digital Covid Cert from 19 July.

He said that he understood the importance of aviation and tourism sectors, adding that international connectivity was critical to Ireland's place in the world, with many jobs and livelihoods dependent on it.

Mr Martin said he also understood "very clearly" the need to get international travel back in a safe and sustainable way. He said that the direction of travel is "clear and very positive".


At a glance: What's opening up this summer
Phased reopening for hotels, pubs and restaurants


In his address, the Taoiseach said that people must remain vigilant given what is happening across the globe.

"We know there have been many twists and turns on this journey," he said, adding that "this coming month could be the most important test" of people's spirit since the pandemic began.

"We all want out of the restrictions but that will require each of us as individuals... friends neighbours and family, to stick to the guidelines that are still in place.

"If we continue to mind each other, make the right choices, be vigilant, take our vaccine when our turn comes, if we continue to do all of these things, the end of this is within our grasp," he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said that as international travel begins to reopen, people "need to keep a tight watch" so as to avoid the importation of new Covid-19 variants into Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Ms McDonald welcomed the Government's announcement, saying that "at last" people were going to regain the freedom they had lost for such a long time.

She said the issue was that non-essential international travel had to be done safely.

Ms McDonald said she was happy that Mandatory Hotel Quarantine for some international arrivals was no longer needed, adding that the country needs to respond to the circumstances it finds itself in.

She said at a point in time if there was a surge, then the State needed to take a very hard line on that.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said that the announcement made today is a positive step in the right direction and that it was critical to get the next few weeks right.

However, he said that he was concerned about about people aged 60-69 who received the AstraZeneca about being "left behind as they won't be fully vaccinated for many weeks to come".

Mr Kelly said: "I am asking the Government again to request a review by NIAC of the dosing gap between AstraZeneca doses, which is currently three months."