‘Big day for thousands of businesses’ – Varadkar on the further easing of restrictions on Monday

Monday will see thousands of businesses reopen for the first time in over 18 months and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described it as a “big day”.

ot only will many people return to work in an office tomorrow for the first time since the start of the pandemic, many businesses including indoor dance, yoga and pilates studios, art classes and indoor sports and fitness classes will open for up to 100 people.

All those attending these indoor spaces must be fully vaccinated or prove they are immune via recent recovery from Covid-19.

The Tánaiste said Ireland was entering a “new phase” of easing restrictions.

All restrictions on outdoor group activities will also be removed, meaning there will be no upper limit on numbers.

“Tomorrow is a big day for thousands of businesses who are opening their doors for the first time since the pandemic and thousands of more people getting back to work,” Mr Varadkar said.

“It has been an incredibly challenging 18 months for those running indoor activities. Business owners have had to make huge changes to their business, from moving outdoors to moving online. Your efforts to date have doubtless saved lives”.

The Tánaiste said it is thanks to the success of the vaccination programme that Ireland is in a position to ease restrictions further and allow these indoor activities to take place. More than 90pc of those over 16 are now fully vaccinated, the highest rate in the EU.

Indoor exercise classes, bands, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, chess, bridge and other indoor activities will all return.

“We are now one of the best in the world for vaccine uptake, 90pc of people over 16 are now double-jabbed. It’s a testament to the Irish people for trusting the science, trusting our health care professionals and protecting each other.

“I wish all those returning to work tomorrow for the first time, the very best and thank you for all you have done over the pandemic.”

“I know many are looking forward to returning to the office, to see their colleagues who they’ve only seen through a screen for the past 18 months, in person. For those who were recruited during the pandemic, it will be the first time ever they’ve been in the office or met their co-workers – even after over a year working together in some cases,” the Tánaiste said.

Mr Varadkar said he hopes Ireland will learn the lessons the pandemic has taught us about the world of work and “what’s possible in terms of remote working”.

“It transformed the world of work overnight. I hope we can learn something from what worked for workers and employers during that time and incorporate it post-Covid. We really want to see remote working become a permanent fixture of Irish working life.

“I hope employers are speaking to their staff to figure out what works best for them and the business as this phased return begins,” Mr Varadkar said.

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