Micheál Martin says easing of some Covid-19 restrictions could be "moved forward"
"By the end of this month, we will do more than we signalled by August."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the easing of some Covid-19 restrictions could be "moved forward", adding that the Government will know by the end of June if it will be possible to bring forward the reopening of certain sectors.
Speaking during a visit to Cork's Princes St where he was enjoying the newly reopened outdoor dining facilities, Martin said that they will be taking advice "towards the end of this month".
“I think we will see towards the end of this month, given the progress we have made to date, whether we can move forward on some areas like that”, he told reporters.
“We’ll take advice on it, we’ll take it step by step. As you’ve seen all along the way, we were able to do things in June that we didn’t signal we would do a month earlier.
“We were able to do more than what we signalled. And likewise, by the end of this month, we will do more than we signalled by August."
He added that this could "mean the return of some workers to offices by the end of August.”
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also said on Tuesday that office work may be allowed to resume by August as he is asking the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to consider a phased return earlier than expected.
Varadkar said that pushing the date up from September to August would "make more sense".
“At the moment, we are planning a phased return to offices and workplaces from September,” the Tánaiste told the Irish Independent.
“Provided the vaccine programme continues to gather pace and the virus remains under control, I believe August makes more sense than September."
Varadkar added that the risk of transmission would be significantly lower at the time due to the success of Ireland's vaccination rollout programme.
“I think it makes sense to begin the return to the office before that, in August. By then, the vast majority of adults will be fully vaccinated and the risk of them getting very sick from the virus will be very low," he said.