The Arts Minister says she shared the frustration of the arts, culture and music sector about reopening delays - suggesting the "goalposts were always changing".
Catherine Martin says she's happy with the plan to lift almost all remaining restrictions by October 22nd.
Under the plan, live events at both indoor and outdoor venues can resume from September 6th - albeit at reduced capacity for now.
On October 22nd - dependent on the COVID-19 situation - remaining limits on crowd sizes will be lifted.
Minister Martin told The Hard Shoulder she believes the roadmap finally gives a lot of sectors the clarity they were looking for.
She said: "October 22nd… the reason for the date is the point we’re confident that 90% of the population over 16 will be fully vaccinated, or very close to it. It’s also when - from the models - we should pass the peak of the Delta wave.
"It’s time to reopen, and let people make a living again.
“For me, it felt in particular for the arts, culture and music sector that the goalposts were always changing - I felt they’d never get there... to the finishing line where they could reopen again. If not then on October 22nd… when?"
A number of pilot concerts and festivals were held in recent months, and Minister Martin believes they provided enough evidence to move forward.
However, she said the sector also needed time to prepare - as they "can't just flick on the light switch" and be running events again.
After a widely-publicised disagreement with other ministers, Minister Martin was finally added to the Cabinet subcommittee on COVID-19 last week as they finalised the reopening plan.
Minister Martin says it's no secret she'd have liked to have been on it earlier, but she believes being part of it ultimately did make a difference.
Members of the entertainment sector had highlighted how the Green Party minister wanted to be part of the subcommittee following meetings with her in recent weeks.
Minister Martin says she did advise those industry representatives to talk to other ministers as well, as she wasn't the only one making decisions.
She said: “I didn’t say ‘go lobby!’ But I said it makes sense to talk to other relevant ministers.
"I don’t regret that… I think that’s the right thing to do.”