Today marks a “really significant” easing of COVID restrictions with the return of live music and increases to the number of people that can attend events.
Organised indoor events and mass gatherings can now take place with attendance set at 60% of the venue capacity, provided all attendees are immune, vaccinated or accompanied minors.
The cap on outdoor events and mass gatherings, including sports fixtures, has increased to 75% under the same circumstances.
Organised events include trade fairs, exhibitions, bingo halls, cinemas and theatres.
Where patrons have a mixed immunity status there will be no change to the limits this month.
Government chief whip and sports minister, Jack Chambers, told Newstalk it marks a landmark day for the COVID response.
“I think today is a really significant and important day for the public,” he said. “Really seeing the benefit of the vaccination rollout and protection it gives us.
“People are able to see this new normal and also they can experience a lot of the activities they haven’t been able to do over the last number of months.
“Also, we are moving from the experience of regulating the management of COVID to it being up to people and having personal responsibility. “
Live music also returns today – although crowds will have to be seated at indoor gigs.
It means live music and dancing can also return at weddings.
The capacity limits on cinemas and theatres can increase to 60% where all attendees are immune, vaccinated or accompanied minors. Crowds of mixed immunity status are limited to 50 people.
All religious ceremonies can now proceed with 50% capacity while coach tour activity can resume at 75% capacity.
Minister Chambers said people should take personal responsibility for their own safety as the country reopens.
“We are now moving from a phase of regulating a lot of activities people have in their day to day lives to personal responsibility,” he said.
“This is the new normal and it is up to people to have personal responsibility on deciding their day-to-day activity as we lift many of the restrictions over the coming weeks.”
He said the reopening, “really shows the benefit of the vaccine programme.”