Residents at nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be allowed two visits per week from today.
The visits will be allowed on general compassionate grounds, provided there is a high level of vaccination in the facility.
There will be no requirement to limit each visit to less than one hour.
Nursing Homes Ireland has welcomed the news for the country's 30,000 nursing home residents and their families.
“It’s hugely positive news and very welcome,” chief executive Tadhg Daly said.
“I suppose it’s the effect of the vaccination now at this stage, it's really bearing fruit.”
However, Mr Daly said caution was still needed: “We need to be... cautious as well, given the high numbers [of Covid-19] still in the community.”
Sage Advocacy, a support and advocacy service for older people, said visiting arrangements had been a key issue for residents since last March when Covid-19 was first reported in nursing homes.
Since then, residents have had limited or often no contact at all with their loved ones.
The new visitation rules are a very welcome first step, the group said, as it urged nursing homes to respect and comply with the guidance.