THE two-metre social distancing rule is set to be lifted for good in Ireland before the end of the summer, according to recent reports.
A senior Cabinet member has told colleagues that the rule can be fully phased out once a "critical mass" of Ireland's population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the Irish Mail on Sunday.
So long as there are no more issues with the vaccination programme, and providing there aren't any vaccine-proof variants spreading around, social distancing in all public areas could be scrapped by mid-to-late August, or September at the latest.
Despite this, it's likely that face masks will remain a requirement, and limits on capacity in pubs, restaurants and other indoor areas will still apply, even once social distancing is done away with.
"I think the two-metre distancing regulation will go when a critical mass of the population are fully vaccinated," the unnamed minister said.
"So long as there is no vaccine-proof variant that gets us all.
"The use of masks and limits on the number of people in a room will be around longer," the minister added.
Ireland has now fully vaccinated over 50% of its adult population, with 64% having received at least one dose, but the next few weeks will be telling, with pubs opening their doors for the first time in over six months today.
If case numbers remain low over the coming weeks, there'll be plenty of optimism within government that a more substantial reopening of society can take place, sooner rather than later.