THOUSANDS of people will return to work in Ireland on Monday for the first time in 18 months as the government continues to ease Covid-19 restrictions.
With public health advice no longer requiring people to work from home, a phased and staggered return to the office will commence on September 20.
Meanwhile restrictions on outdoor activities will also be removed, while organised indoor group activities can resume under certain conditions.
Thinking of the thousands going back to work tomorrow, many for the first time since the pandemic began. Thank you for all you’ve done to keep people safe over the past 18mths, your efforts have saved lives. All the best for tomorrow
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 19, 2021
These include limiting involvement to 100 participants, all of whom must be fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months.
In the case of those with mixed immunity, pods of up to six participants will be permitted.
In a statement about the changes, Tanáiste Leo Varadkar said he believed workers were looking forward to returning to work.
However he added that the experience of Covid-19 could allow for greater flexibility from employers.
'Pandemic taught us what's possible'
"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," he said.
"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 pandemic has taught us 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."
The easing of restrictions began on September 6 and the vast majority of restrictions are expected to be lifted by October 22.