NPHET to consider lifting restrictions on working from home and hospitality this week
It could be as early as this week.
NPHET is set to meet this week to consider easing restrictions on hospitality and working from home as the latest Covid wave has appeared to reach its peak.
The Government is set to ask Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan if the 8pm curfew can be lifted for bars and restaurants next month and it is hoped that the earliest closing time would return to 11pm.
Masks will still be required for the hospitality sector and indoor live events.
NPHET is also set to give advice on when people will be able to return to offices again, with Cabinet set to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.
While they are set to meet this week, it is believed that a decision might not be reached until next week.
When asked on the Late Late Show 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.
"To be straight with you, it is stabilising here, the progress is clear to be seen now, the hospital levels are certainly stabilising and how seriously ill people are is certainly down on previous waves.
"Hospitalisations are stable, Omicron has not penetrated ICU to the degree that people feared, quite a lot of the ICU numbers are still Delta patients.
"Cases are coming down, albeit from a very high level, but they are coming down.
"I think we are going to get stronger in 2022, vaccines have been a game changer and the booster has helped with Omicron.
"Take it steady over the next week or two, I think by the end of next week we will be in a position to make decisions in terms of restrictions."
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