The Irish government was set on Friday to announce the easing of coronavirus restrictions for December with retail and some hospitality settings expected to reopen next week.
The country has been under a strict six-week lockdown since Oct. 21 with all non-essential retail and leisure facilities closed.
People have been prevented from travelling beyond five kilometres of their homes and all non-essential workers are requested to work from home.
It is expected that retail and services such as hairdressing will reopen next week for the festive season.
The government is likely to ignore the warnings of its National Public Health Emergency Team which cautioned against opening hospitality as 307 new cases and three deaths were reported on Thursday.
It is expected that gastropubs and restaurants will be permitted to reopen on Dec. 7.
Pubs which don’t serve food are expected to remain closed.
Household gatherings are not expected to be permitted until later in December.
The easing of restrictions in the Republic of Ireland coincides with the imposition of a strict two-week “circuit breaker” in Northern Ireland.
From Friday all non-essential retail, close-contact services, hospitality and places of worship are closed north of the border.
Northern Ireland is still struggling with a high incidence of COVID-19 with 442 people testing positive on Thursday.
There were 554 cases on Wednesday and seven deaths.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Silas Nwoha