It's looking more and more likely restrictions will be eased at the end of January
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was "hopeful".
There is optimism that the current public health restrictions will be eased at the end of January as planned.
Speaking on Friday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was "hopeful" restrictions would be eased, paving the way for cultural, events and hospitality sectors to open beyond 8pm.
It follows reports from RTÉ on Wednesday that there was optimism that a "major" easing of restrictions could be on the way in February.
However, the report did state that much would depend on the NPHET meeting scheduled for next Thursday (20 January).
Earlier on Friday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the National Public Health Emergency team is hopeful that "we are certainly coming close to the peak of [the Omicron wave]."
Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Dr Glynn said one more week of data is needed to conclude if Ireland has passed the peak.
As things stand, the current 8pm closing time for hospitality and other sectors is set to remain in place until Sunday, 30 January.
New measures for close contacts came into effect at midnight on Thursday, with isolation periods removed for close contacts of confirmed Covid cases who have received a booster vaccine and have no symptoms.
Although, asymptomatic boosted close contacts will be recommended to wear medical or higher grade masks and take regular antigen tests.
There will no longer be a requirement for people aged between four and 39 to confirm an antigen test result with a PCR test, with a new portal set up for people to upload their positive antigen tests.
However, a PCR test or professionally administered antigen test will still be required to receive a Covid recovery certificate.
Main image via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie