ONE hundred people will be allowed attend weddings, funerals and other indoor gatherings from July 20, Independent.ie can reveal.
The roadmap for reopening Ireland has been majorly rewritten with almost all public venues, including hairdressers and gyms, to be allowed operate again from the end of this month.
Later today ministers will also sign-off on new guidelines for gathering which should allow some couples get their wedding plans back on track.
It is understood that from June 29 a group of up to 50 people will be allowed attend events in enclosed spaces.
This will facilitate cinemas, smaller theatres and other cultural businesses resume their activities.
Gyms and swimming pools are also expected to get the green light to reopen on the condition that they limit numbers and adopt a strict hygiene policy.
Churches can resume holding Mass provided numbers are kept below 50.
Gatherings of up to 200 people will be permitted outdoors. Social distancing rules will apply - but this means some spectators can attend sporting events again.
The final phase of the plan will kick in on July 20 when indoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted.
Sources told Independent.ie that ministers believe this will help ensure many brides and grooms are able to go ahead with their weddings this summer.
Outdoor gathering of up to 500 people will also be allowed meaning small concerts, cultural events and sports will take place in late July and August.
Restaurants and pubs which serve a substantial meal will also be back in business from June 29.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan confirmed yesterday their customers will not need to wear face masks because they will not be moving about, but he did not rule it out in the future.
He said pubs which do not serve food could be the "most risk in terms of transmission of the virus". They will not open until July and there is still work to do around how they will operate safely.
A further four deaths from the virus were reported yesterday, bringing the toll to 1,714.
Another 16 people were diagnosed with the virus and 23 patients remain in intensive care, with one admission in the previous 24 hours.
Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who is tracking the spread of the virus, said overall the level of infection here is at a low level and stable but it will be next week before the impact of the most recent reopenings will be seen.
He said: "The reproductive number is now estimated to be close to 0.7. It is heartening to see that none of the data suggests that there is a significant increase of transmission of Covid-19 in the community since the commencement of phase two."
However, an increase in people bringing the virus here from abroad is raising concern.
Airline travellers from the UK and Sweden were among the "fewer than 10" people who arrived here in the past 10 days and tested positive for the virus.
The advice to people is not to travel abroad for non-essential trips.
The advice that anyone who arrives here on a flight must self-quarantine for a fortnight has been extended for three more weeks.
Prof Nolan said the numbers infected are now less likely to be in workplaces or nursing homes, and the greater proportion pick up the virus in the community or in private homes.
There are 48 patients still in hospital and three were admitted in the previous 24 hours.
Asked about statements by an official from the European Centre for Disease and Control that a second wave of Covid-19 was inevitable, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said we are not yet out of the first wave.
He added it was not believed that a second wave was inevitable in this country, insisting it was too early to say.
"The evidence to date is that people and businesses have been following the guidance and the "spirit of that guidance".
He added: "But it will be a challenge to ensure that is maintained over time and we are hopeful people have adopted these new behaviours as habits. But that is not a given as we move on."