The Cabinet is expected to meet today to consider the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in response to the rise of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
NPHET has expressed “exceptional concern” about the impact of Covid-19 and the new variant in its latest advice to Government.
The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended a 5pm closing time for pubs and restaurants from next Monday.
It is also advocating that sporting, theatre and cultural gatherings should not take place after 5pm and that capacity should be cut to 50%, or 5,000 people, for outdoor events.
These recommendations also strongly urge a major reduction in the numbers allowed to attend both indoor and outdoor events.
Although the advice is not thought to be specific about occasions such as weddings, NPHET has formed the view that all large gatherings are potentially super spreaders and is advising against the holding of late night events.
In a further change, close contacts of a confirmed Covid case who have not received a booster vaccine will likely be advised to restrict their movements.
However, the current restrictions around allowing people from three households to gather in the home of a fourth are not set to be tightened.
Ireland is also expected to stay aligned to EU policy around international travel, while schools remain on track to stay open until the Christmas holidays next week.
Representatives of the hospitality sector said it would be devastating if the Government heeded the advice of NPHET and ordered the earlier closing time of pubs and restaurants.
They also said major financial supports would be needed for businesses if they were to survive.