A major relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions gets underway today.
Over 12,000 businesses are expected to reopen this week, after nearly five months of level five restrictions.
People can look forward to getting their hair cut today, while there are now no restrictions on travelling between counties.
Click and collect retail returns, along with visiting shops by appointment - ahead of a planned full reopening of the retail sector next Monday.
Galleries, museums and libraries are also allowed to reopen to the public from today.
Religious services are also resuming, with 50 people allowed to attend mass, funerals and weddings within church settings.
While the average number of daily coronavirus cases remains above 400, health and Government officials have insisted the easing of restrictions is safe, cautious and necessary.
Professor Sam McConkey from the RCSI said the vaccination rollout will help society ease restrictions further over the coming weeks and months.
He said: "We had a very comfortable July and August in 2020 - now we've got a more transmissible variant, unfortunately, that requires better control.
"But we do have that better control in the form of vaccines. I think a cautious reopening at this stage, then watching carefully to see what's happening, is the way that we're going."
Once retail reopens next week, there'll then be a further easing of restrictions in early June - starting with the reopening of hotels and B&Bs on June 2nd.
Another major round of easing restrictions will follow on June 7th, including the return of outdoor dining for restaurants and pubs.
'Great buzz around'
Retailers and hairdressers are among those who've expressed their excitement at finally being able to reopen.
Owner of Profile Hair Design in Mullingar, Annie Mulligan, says they will see 300 clients over the next week.
She said: "We are super excited - it's such a happy day.
"The team has been in all week, behind the scenes, getting everything organised... stock has been arriving non-stop."
Irish Hairdressers Federation President Danielle Kennedy said their members are thrilled to welcome customers back to salons.
She said: "There's such a great buzz around. It's hard to believe we've actually only worked for three weeks since the middle of October.
"Today is a really positive day - people are looking forward to seeing their clients again, and clients are looking forward to seeing us."
Duncan Graham from Retail Excellence, meanwhile, said the pandemic has led to changes in consumer habits - in particular, the emergence of click and collect.
He said: "We won't be going backwards: those changes are here to stay.
"I think retail will continue to develop and offer more choice to consumers in the long run."
You can see the full details of today's easing of restrictions below:
- People can travel between all counties in Ireland
- A maximum of three households or six people from any number of households can meet in gardens
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people are allowed, while outdoor training is allowed with groups of up to 15 people
- Click and collect retail, in-store appointment shopping and outdoor retail can reopen
- Personal services - including hairdressers, barbers and beauticians - can reopen for customers with appointments only
- Galleries, museums and libraries can reopen
- Up to 50 people can attend wedding services, but restrictions remain for receptions: up to six people at an indoor reception, or 15 people outdoors
- Up 50 mourners can attend funeral services, but no other events are to take place
- Public transport capacity is increasing to 50%
- Property viewings can resume, but by appointment only
- Vaccinated people can visit other households indoors