The over-70s will next week be able to invite their grandchildren and others into their homes for the first time in months, under the Government’s second phase of reopening the country.
However, children and adults will be told they must wear masks, gloves and stay strictly two metres away from the person who is cocooning.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is also considering opening playgrounds in some areas to ease the burden of the lockdown on children.
There are some concerns over the rising number of new Covid-19 cases over the bank holiday weekend, but Government and Nphet sources yesterday said they expected a further easing of lockdown restrictions to go ahead as planned next week.
Among the restrictions being lifted is the ban on people visiting the homes of over-70s.
From Monday, people who have been asked to cocoon will be allowed to have a small number of visitors to their home, provided strict social distancing rules are followed.
The new phase will allow people of all ages meet indoors in groups of four for the first time. Up to now, the Government has permitted people to meet friends and family only when outdoors.
Nphet will meet tomorrow before making its recommendation to Government on the further lifting of restrictions.
However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting yesterday he was confident the country would be able to move into the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions as planned next week.
Nphet has been working with officials from the Department of Health and the Department of Children on plans to reopen playgrounds.
There are concerns about the impact of the pandemic on children, especially those who may be vulnerable.
They are especially concerned about the lack of social outlets for children with disabilities. Playgrounds were not due to reopen until phase three on June 29.
But this will be brought forward under the condition that playgrounds can be supervised and cleaned regularly to reduce the chance of the virus spreading among children playing in the area.
Nphet is also considering whether summer camps can take place in the coming weeks.
The group, chaired by chief medical officer Tony Holohan, is also expected to make a decision on the ban on visiting nursing homes.
Health Minister Simon Harris said he would like to allow people to visit loved ones in nursing homes, but was awaiting the advice of Mr Holohan and his team.
The new phase will also see a slightly larger number of people permitted to attend funerals, but it will be restricted to immediate family and close friends. There is also a limit on the maximum number of mourners, with only 10 people allowed to attend funerals.
Homeware stores will also be permitted to reopen next week after confusion about their status during phase one of the Government's plan to ease lockdown restrictions.
Other small retail outlets which can adhere to social distancing rules will also be able to reopen as long as they can ensure the safety of staff and customers.
Marts are also earmarked to reopen under phase two.
Sports clubs will be able to hold training sessions. However, they will not be permitted to play matches.
There are some concerns in the Department of Health over the increase in new cases of the virus over the weekend and this is being monitored ahead of Friday's announcement on lifting restrictions.