Reopening of restaurants and gastropubs, travel between counties set to be approved by government
The government is set to go against the advice of NPHET on certain aspects of reopening the country from next week.
Restaurants and gastropubs are set to be given the go-ahead to reopen and travel between counties over Christmas is likely to be permitted when the government announces plans to lift Level 5 restrictions in Ireland from next week.
Multiple media reports late on Thursday night, following a five-hour meeting of the Cabinet committee on Covid-19, suggested that the reopening of the hospitality sector next month, against the advice of NPHET, would be one of the key aspects of a government announcement on the lifting of restrictions later today.
According to RTÉ, the government is considering a number of dates for the reopening of restaurants and gastropubs next month, with Friday, 4 December and Monday 7 December mooted as possible options.
As part of its opposition to certain plans of the government’s reopening plan, NPHET is believed to have advised that pubs and restaurants remain takeaway only for the entire month of December.
As had been anticipated, 'wet pubs' are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Elsewhere, it is expected that shops and hairdressers will be allowed open from next Wednesday (2 December) and that the 5km limit on travel will be lifted so people can travel within their own county.
From 18 December until 3 January, it has been speculated that travel between counties will be permitted, while household gatherings – with strict limits – will also be permitted from 18 December to allow people to visit their families over Christmas.
People are also likely to be permitted to attend mass next month, although again, strict measures on attendances at religious services will apply.
Cabinet is due to discuss the proposals from Thursday’s meeting on Friday, before an official announcement is delivered later in the evening.
On Thursday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre reported 335 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and three further deaths.