Digital Desk Staff
The return of crowds at matches, open air concerts, and other outdoor events is part of a grand reopening of the country from June 7th, due to be announced by the Government today.
As the Irish Examiner reports, pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to serve customers indoors until July 5th, which has been met by strong criticism from hospitality sector representatives who have threatened legal action over the delay.
In a surprise move, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended that some measures be eased earlier than expected, allowing for the resumption of outdoor events of up to 100 people, or 200 in larger stadia, from the first week in June.
Cinemas have also been added to the June 7th reopening list.
The numbers of people permitted to attend open-air events will increase on a phased basis over the summer, opening up the possibility of crowds of 5,000 at Croke Park for Championship games as well as concerts and other events.
Hotels and guesthouses have also been given the green light to reopen from June 2nd.
However, a note of caution was issued by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly who cast serious doubt over the June vaccination target due to significant difficulties with the supply of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Mr Donnelly said it is “unclear” if the Government's target of vaccinating, or offering a dose, to 80 per cent of adults by the end of June will be met.
While Ireland had a contract for 600,000 doses of the one-shot vaccine, Mr Donnelly told the Dáil that the best-case scenario is that 235,000 will be delivered. In the worst case, it would be just 60,000.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath last night said any changes to the vaccination programme would not alter the plans to reopen the economy.
“We want to see a return of international travel as soon as possible," Mr McGrath told RTÉ's Prime Time, confirming July for the reopening of aviation.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will announce the latest easing of restrictions this evening to include a phased reopening of hospitality, sport, and expected clarity around international travel.
Members of the Covid sub-committee last night met to agree on the finer details of the plans after Nphet advised that outdoor gatherings of at least 100 people can recommence from as soon as early next month.
The number of attendees will increase again to see 200 people at outdoor events from July 5th. Larger stadiums will be allowed to organise events with up to 500 people from the same date.