Around 12,000 businesses are set to reopen this week as Covid-19 restrictions ease while 100,000 people are expected to return to work this month.
Ireland is taking some further steps back toward normality as a series of lockdown restrictions lift on Monday.
A phased reopening of non-essential retail will begin, with click-and-collect services and in-store shopping by appointment allowed, while close contact services, such as hairdressers, can resume.
Restrictions on inter-county travel have also lifted while some of the limitations on indoor and outdoor social gatherings have eased.
Many museums, galleries and libraries are now able to reopen and the number of people allowed to attend religious services, including weddings and funerals, has increased to 50.
Welcoming the reopening of businesses, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar said that the Work Safely Protocol is being updated to include revised advice on ventilation and workplace antigen testing, and will be launched in the near future.
Mr Varadkar said: “This is a moment that businesses across Ireland have been waiting for as we see the return or reopening of around 12,000 businesses, the return of non-essential retail and personal services, and roughly 100,000 people expected to return to work this month.
“As Minister for Enterprise I want to thank companies for their efforts and those of their staff in getting to this point. Thanks to your diligence in fighting the pandemic, and those of the general public, we can move on to the next phase of reopening. This has been the longest lockdown since the pandemic began. I am determined to do all we can to ensure that it is the last.
“Businesses can also be reassured that Government financial supports will remain in place at least until the end of June, and that we are working on new financial supports for those most affected by the lockdown. These will be announced at the end of May. Businesses opening tomorrow will receive a double CRSS payment for each of the next two weeks to help with the cost of repening."
Mr Varadkar added: “The Department of Enterprise is currently updating the Work Safely Protocol to include new advice on ventilation, and will also set out recommendations on how antigen testing can be incorporated into the workplace. I will be launching this new Protocol in the near future.
“Importantly, we are still asking people to work from home wherever possible. The virus is still circulating, and around two thirds of the adult population have yet to receive the vaccine. Mixing in the workplace can allow the virus to spread, so we all need to continue playing our part in defeating this cruel virus.”