NON-ESSENTIAL retail stores are likely to be given the okay to re-open within the next week as Northern Ireland moves further out of lockdown.
However, there could still be a delay on relatives who do not live together meeting indoors amid concerns the coronavirus reproduction rate remains too high.
This is the only aspect of Step 1 in the Executive's five step recovery plan that has yet to be implemented.
News of the possible hold-up came after the Department of Health reported one more Covid-19 death yesterday bringing the overall toll in Northern Ireland to 505. There were a further 41 new confirmed cases which brought the total number of positive tests here to 4,545. The coronavirus death toll in the Republic of Ireland has risen to 1,604 after a further 13 deaths.
A senior Stormont source told Sunday Life: "Dr Michael McBride (Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer) takes a different view in regards to people meeting outdoors than indoors.
"The last briefing we had from him is that science is still very much against it (meeting indoors).
"That's not to say that things might change in the coming days, but at the minute an immediate announcement on families from different households being able to meet indoors is unlikely."
The one big change expected to take place within the next seven days is the re-opening of non-essential retail outlets. Furniture giant IKEA has announced it will reopen its Belfast store on June 1.
The re-opening of non-food retail stores with limited numbers and strict social distancing is contained within Step 2 of the Executive's lockdown recovery plan.
Stormont insiders say that if we avoid a spike in new Covid-19 cases all the proposals detailed in Step 2 should be implemented by June 8. This will also include groups of up to 10 meeting outdoors, some libraries re-opening, and more employees returning to their workplaces.
The much sought after measure of families from two dedicated households being able to meet indoors without social distancing is expected to come soon after.
All of these proposals are entirely dependent on the Covid-19 reproduction rate, or R number, being kept below 1. This means that for every person with the virus, they infect less than one other. Northern Ireland's R number is currently estimated to be between 0.8 and 1.
In further moves, the National Trust will start to reopen some of its coast and countryside car parks from Wednesday.