Employees stuck working at home since last March will be able to return to their offices by September under plans being developed by the Government.
While wholly dependent on the speed and scale of the vaccine rollout in coming months, senior Government sources told The Irish Examiner that workers returning to the office is a priority.
The news comes amid growing optimism within the Coalition over the potential to open the country earlier than expected given a significant drop in hospital admissions and deaths linked to Covid-19.
Several ministers, speaking to The Examiner, made clear that while many people will want to have a mix of working from home and going to the office, their intention is to allow that happen as early as possible.
“But, we need to ensure vaccination is done at a mass scale and business can ensure their premises are properly ventilated,” said one Minister.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed the reopening of non-essential retail and personal services including hairdressers.
Next month will also see the resumption of religious services and the full return of construction, the Tánaiste said.
At Cabinet, Ministers agreed to meet next week once it had advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
“That would involve looking at personal services, like barbers and hairdressers; retail; more outdoor activities; religious services, and the full return of construction,” Mr Varadkar said.
“They’re the kind of things that we’re going to look at next week for May. I don’t want to particularly speculate beyond that.”
From Monday next, outdoor sports facilities including pitches, golf courses, and tennis courts can reopen.
Underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 or fewer can resume and outdoor visitor attractions, including zoos, petting farms, and heritage sites can reopen.
Maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25 on compassionate grounds.