Yesterday (20 January), the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) reviewed current Covid-19 restrictions. The meeting saw the approval of easing most restrictions, leaving only mask wearing, vaccination certs for international travel and isolation when symptomatic in place.
NPHET did not specify a timeline by which restrictions should be lifted, leaving the decision up to the Irish Government. It is expected that the announcement will be made tomorrow, outlining a time-specific roadmap to bring Ireland closer to normality.
This is hopeful news for the hospitality industry, as the Restaurants Association of Ireland asks for all hospitality businesses to return to normal from tonight.
The industry has been majorly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) expects the latest announcement to lead to a quick recovery.
LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said: “Hopefully, the Government will now move swiftly and there will be no delays to the full reopening and the scrapping of hospitality restrictions.
“Hospitality is ready and waiting to open our doors this weekend.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin expects significant steps towards lifting restrictions to be taken by the end of the month. Mr Martin told RTÉ that he hopes to be in the position to give an update this evening.
Saying that “we are definitely in a new phase,” the Taoiseach praises the success of booster shots, while also clarifying that the Omicron variant is proving less severe than previous strains.
Although the current 8pm closing time for hospitality businesses is set to remain until the end of the month, Mr Martin said that this restriction may be lifted earlier.