Ireland reopening: Foreign travel for holidays to be allowed from July 19 - and everything else you need to know

Indoor dining in pubs, restaurants and cafes from July 5Hotels to reopen from June 2, Nphet recommendsCinemas allowed to open from JuneLimited spectators at outdoor concerts and matches from August 2500 allowed at smaller venues, with limit of 5,000 or 25pc capacity in larger stadia such as Croke Park

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Philip Ryan

Foreign travel for holidays is to be permitted from July 19, under plans agreed by the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and his ministers signed off on a plan which see the return of non-essential travel in July.

The Government will introduce the EU’s Digital Green Certificate scheme on this date and people who are fully vaccinated will be free to travel abroad without producing a negative Covid-19 test on their return.

They will also avoid hotel or home quarantining.

Vaccinated passengers will be able to visit Ireland without a negative test and will also be exempt from any quarantining measures.

Meanwhile, indoor dining should be only permitted from July 5 onwards, according to advice to Government from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Nphet has cleared the way for the reopening of hotels on June 2 and the resumption of outdoor dining five days later.

However, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan’s team said pubs, restaurants and cafes should only begin to serve customers indoors from July 5.

The Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 accepted Nphet’s advice on indoor dining.

Nphet also suggested more people may be able to meet in private homes in July if the spread of the virus remains stable.

Nphet also cleared the way for spectators to attend outdoor and indoor events from August 2 onwards.

The group said 500 attendees could attend the majority of outdoor events such as concerts or matches from this date.

However, it added that 5,000 spectators or 25pc of the capacity of larger venues such as stadiums like Croke Park could also be permitted.

Meanwhile, 100 people will be able attend most indoor events such as concerts and comedy gigs and 200 attendees will be permitted in larger venues. Trials of indoor and outdoor events will take place in June and July.

Nphet also gave the green light for cinemas to reopen in June.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath said the Government would like to see international travel return as soon as possible.

He told RTÉ’s Primetime: “We’re at a point now thankfully where we can consider making changes in areas like international travel, in areas such as outdoor dining, allowing people to go to outdoor events again in more significant numbers.

"So, we’re moving to a space where changes that were unthinkable just a few short weeks ago are now coming into view and Government has a series of options open to it.

“In relation to international travel, Ireland is very much part of the EU digital Covid certificate.

" And as you know, there is now an agreement between European Parliament and the Council representing member states.

"The regulation will come into effect the end of June, the very beginning of July. Countries will have a transition period if they choose to use it, and if they need it, in order to implement that system.

"We want to see a return to international travel as soon as possible and as soon as it is safe to do so.

"So we are taking aboard the health advice from the Department of Health in relation to that issue, but I think there is a growing sense of confidence that we can see a return to international travel within the confines of that arrangement in the month of July.”

Nphet met on Wednesday and Dr Holohan briefed Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on the outcome of the meeting on the same day.

Dr Holohan was said to be “broadly optimistic” about the current situation with the virus but did raise concerns about the so-called Indian variant and highlighted that a critical mass of people have still not been vaccinated.

He also noted outdoor activities still pose far less of a risk than indoor activities.

In the letter to government, Nphet is understood to have recommended continuing to reopen the country on a cautious basis with regular risk assessments of progress.

Mr Holohan will this evening brief the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 on the latest data on the virus. HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid will also give an update on the vaccination programme which has been hit with new delays due to problems with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

The Health Minister warned the Dáil a scheduled order of 470,000 Janssen vaccines may not arrive on time and as few as 60,000 of the pre-ordered jabs may arrive in June.

Meanwhile, the HSE revealed there has been a collapse in the number of deaths from the virus with eight fatalities in the last fortnight.

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