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Cabinet expected to sign off today on plans to re-open Carlow, Kilkenny and the rest of the country

More restrictions are due to be eased in June

Inter-county travel will return on the 10th of May as part of a sweeping easing of COVID restrictions.

The cabinet is due to meet this afternoon to sign off on plans to re-open most of the country for the summer.

The first easing of measures will be next Tuesday when the entire construction sector can return to work.

But May 10th will be the key day when a raft of COVID restrictions will be lifted including the inter-county travel ban.

From then three households will be allowed to meet up in a back garden, or a maximum of six people from more than three households.

Fully vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet one household of non-vaccinated people indoors, which in effect means people will be able to travel anywhere in the country and meet parents or grandparents.

Also that day religious services return with attendances capped at 50, or more in bigger churches where space allows.

Attendance at funerals and weddings will also rise to 50, but the afters of a wedding will remain restricted to 6 people until June.

Personal services like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will return on the 10th by appointment only.

Public transport will also increase to 50% capacity while outdoor sports training for adults can resume.

Driving tests and house viewings will also be permitted in May.

The 10th will see the return of click and collect retail with the sector to open fully a week later on the 17th.

The next easing of restrictions will come on June 2nd when hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will be allowed to re-open.

However, pubs and restaurants will have to wait until after the Bank Holiday weekend to resume outdoor dining only from the 7th of June.

No distinction will be made between gastropubs and so-called wet pubs – with the much-maligned nine euro meal being scrapped.

The 7th of June will also see the return of gyms for individual training only and outdoor sports matches will resume without spectators.