Confirmation on lifting of restrictions for pubs and events expected this week
The curfew could be lifted early.
Some of Ireland's major restrictions are expected to be lifted later this week as Omicron infection rates continue to decline.
As experts suspect the surge in infections has reached its peak, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is set to give government ministers advice on rolling back restrictions on Thursday (20 January).
Senior Government sources told the Irish Examiner that they expect NPHET to approve a new closing time of midnight for all licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants.
It is also expected that full capacity will return to outdoor sporting events as the Six Nations and GAA National League matches approach.
NPHET is also expected to relax the numbers allowed to attend indoor entertainment and sporting events, as well as an increase on the limit of 100 people at weddings and funerals.
As well as this, sources claim that the phased return to offices will be picked back up once again.
While the lifted restrictions are expected to be discussed and announced later this week, it is believed that they will not come into force until the end of the month despite being approved as early as Friday (21 January).
The Government sources have indicated that ministers are also happy with hospital and ICU numbers during the peak of Omicron and are not as concerned when it comes to a reopening.
When asked on the Late Late Show last week if pubs will be allowed to open after 8pm from 1 February, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "I would hope so."
"I don't want to make any decision today," he continued. "If we continue to make the progress we are making we will be able to look favourably on stuff like that.
"Governments don't want restrictions on hospitality."
He added that he is optimistic about the future as the Omicron strain of Covid is now stabilising here in Ireland.
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