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Phased reopening Communions and confirmations to resume in September as numbers allowed at outdoors events to rise

Public health officials told ministers that 87pc of adults are now fully vaccinated

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly PIC Gareth Chaney/Collins

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly PIC Gareth Chaney/Collins

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly PIC Gareth Chaney/Collins

Communions and confirmations will be able to resume in September as well as a "phased relaxation" on the numbers attending outdoor events.

A senior source said ministers today discussed the use of vaccine certs for theatres and it is likely the numbers attending horse racing events will be increased.

Public health officials told ministers that 87pc of adults are now fully vaccinated and that there is still a "high prevalence" of the Delta variant.

The final roadmap to reopening will be planned on the basis that case numbers and hospitalisations are "still expected to peak".

Discussions in Government buildings will continue throughout the weekend.

But Cabinet ministers agreed there will be an increase to crowds allowed at outdoor events, communions and confirmations.

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However it’s understood no dates have been agreed and the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will reconvene on Monday.

The committee met for four hours today.

The full Cabinet will on Tuesday sign off on the final roadmap to lifting all restrictions.

Sources said there were “comprehensive” presentations from the HSE’s Paul Reid, Brian MacCraith, who us head of the vaccine rollout and Philip Nolan, chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.

It is understood there was a lot of consensus around the Cabinet table about what restrictions should be eased next.

Nphet advice to Government earlier this week said over 90pc of over-16-year-olds should be fully vaccinated before restrictions are eased.

Speaking on her way into the Cabinet sub committee meeting, Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin said “enough is enough” for the live events sector.

“I’m looking for a return to music in September.

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“For the sector in particular, there’s been a lot of a change in the goalposts for them,” she said.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on his way into the meeting that he doesn’t think that there is a need for a “particular figure” that should be reached as there are “incredibly high” levels of uptake.

Public transport is set to return to 100pc capacity from next Wednesday and a return to the workplace is likely to begin on a phased basis, with employers still required to implement some public health measures such as social distancing of at least one metre.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also wants to reopen bingo halls, bowling alleys, fitness, yoga and dance classes and studios to people with a Covid pass.

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