Is this real life?
For most of us, it probably felt like this day would never arrive. But, after 19 long months of restrictions, we finally have a slated arrival for when the vast majority of Covid-19 restrictions will be no more.
From October 22, all restrictions (aside from mask-wearing in situations like public transport) are due to be scrapped across Ireland.
Between now (September first) and the hallowed day of October 22, a two-step approach will be taken to lifting of some restrictions, with considerations still underway.
For example, September 6 will see larger crowds (75% capacity) permitted at sports grounds and concert venues. Plus, from September 20, workers are to be expected to return to the office under plans that have been submitted to the cabinet.
But, come October 22, all restrictions aside from mask-wearing are planned to be gone. This is subject to Ireland having 90% of adults fully vaccinated and the virus numbers falling or stable.
From September 6, mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people will also be allowed, as well Holy Communions and Confirmations, live music at weddings, and trade exhibitions all restarting.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said Ireland had done well to build on the success of the vaccine programme, but that people would need to continue to “keep the guard up” following any reduction in restrictions.