Digital Desk Staff
The Government wants to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar has said.
He said he hoped, as the country approached a phased return to the workplace from Monday, that employers were “speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business”.
As The Irish Times reports, Mr Varadkar said that from Monday public health advice no longer required working from home and a phased return to the office would commence.
In addition, as part of a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions, thousands of businesses including those providing indoor dance, yoga, pilates studios, art classes and indoor sports and fitness classes would be permitted to resume, catering for up to 100 people, as long as all participants were immune.
The Department of Enterprise and Employment said that a requirement to maintain pods of six participants would be in place where those attending have mixed immunity status. It said all restrictions on outdoor group activities would also be removed meaning no upper limit on numbers.
Mr Varadkar said on Sunday: “Tomorrow is a big day for thousands of businesses who are opening their doors for the first time since the pandemic and thousands of more people getting back to work.
Thinking of the thousands going back to work tomorrow, many for the first time since the pandemic began. Thank you for all you’ve done to keep people safe over the past 18mths, your efforts have saved lives. All the best for tomorrow
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 19, 2021
“It has been an incredibly challenging 18 months for those running indoor activities. Business owners have had to make huge changes to their business, from moving outdoors to moving online. Your efforts to date have doubtless saved lives.”
“Now, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, we are in a position to ease restrictions further and allow these indoor activities take place, including indoor exercise classes, bands, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, chess, bridge and other indoor activities. All restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed.”
He said that Ireland was now “one of the best in the world for vaccine uptake”. He said 90 per cent of people over 16 had now received a double vaccination.
The Tánaiste also said that the pandemic had transformed the world of work and had taught everyone what was possible in terms of remote working.
“I hope we can learn something from what worked for workers and employers during that time and incorporate it post-Covid. We really want to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life. I hope employers are speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business as this phased return begins.”