Hairdressers and shops could be set to reopen in early May for those who have been fully vaccinated, The Irish Examiner reports.
A senior source told the publication, "A lot of older people will be vaccinated by them so you could open up services for them. You could look at doing an incremental approach for those who are fully vaccinated."
Another said, "Everything won't reopen with a bang; it will be on a phased basis, just like this month. But I think if things continue the way they are, we have a very good chance that we will get back into shops in the month of May."
Last week, The Irish Hairdressers Federation called on the government to allow salons to reopen for vaccinated clients, pointing out the mental health benefits of their services, particularly for those who have been cocooning during the pandemic.
In the statement, IHF president Danielle Kennedy said, "Elderly people have been cocooning for the past year, and it would such a great boost for their mental health and general wellbeing to be able to pop down to the salon and talk to people in a safe, controlled environment. They get out of the house, get their hair done, feel refreshed and come away feeling great."
She added, "Not a day goes by where we don’t think about our heroic frontline healthcare workers have been under suffering under huge strain and trauma with this crisis for the past year.
“I don’t know anybody who would deny them the boost they deserve, and it would be great if they could enjoy a trip to their hair salon or barber.”
Reports suggest that such a phased reopening of hairdressers and shops would come as part of a so-called 'vaccine bonus'. This would allow for the easing of restrictions for those who have received all of their required vaccine doses.
Some restrictions are expected to ease for the rest of the population over the summer months.