Dr Tony Holohan encourages vaccinated people to begin socialising again from next week
"You can now get back out there and restart many things you used to do, once restrictions ease from 10 May."
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has encouraged those who have been inoculated against Covid-19 to have "confidence" in the vaccine and begin socialising again from next week.
From 10 May - as part of a vaccine bonus - fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with other fully vaccinated people as long as there are no more than three households present.
Also, fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household, provided that they are not at risk of severe illness and no more than three households are present.
Since this announcement, Holohan has penned a letter to those vaccinated, stating that the vaccination programme has enabled those most at risk from Covid-19 to regain many freedoms that were taken from them by the virus.
He wrote: "As more people are vaccinated, we are in a position to recommend some increases in lower risk social opportunities including family visits, personal services, non-essential retail and a return to religious services, in a safe and controlled manner.
"Those of you who are vaccinated thus far are mostly those we recommended to cocoon at the outset of the pandemic. You can now get back out there and restart many things you used to do, once restrictions ease from 10 May.
"That might be visiting the seaside, a trip to a museum, a visit with a friend, or a trip to see your grandchildren at long last. It’s important that you look out for the public health advice that is relevant to you and to plan to do it safely – but it’s important to get on and do it!"
While acknowledging that those vaccinated who were previously forced to cocoon from the virus might be anxious at the thought of socialising again, he said that people can have confidence in their vaccine, no matter which one they received.
He added: "A way to help manage anxiety is to plan your trip including what transport you will use, ensure you have a mask and hand sanitiser available to you, leave yourself additional time so you can avoid crowds, practise social distancing and make your way to and from your destination safely and comfortably."
Holohan also advised people to give their bodies time to readjust to being more active.
Addressing the wider public, the CMO then stated "now is the time to move forward, to go outdoors and to see one another again," while also keeping up compliance with Covid-19 restrictions and public health advice.
He wrote: "As spring turns to summer, we should all take advantage of the bright evenings and warmer weather. Exercising outdoors is an important tool to protect our mental and physical health."
However, he also explained the pandemic is not over and that there remains a risk that too much social mixing, particularly indoors, will lead to a further surge of the virus.
Read the full letter here.