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19th Jan 2022

Here are the Covid restrictions that may be lifted as early as next week

Changes to closing times for hospitality and wedding guest numbers could be coming sooner than expected.

There is growing hope that a number of Covid-19 restrictions may be lifted next week.

The positive indication comes after the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said this morning that he expects to see some restrictions be lifted by the end of next week, and that “advance notice” could be given after the Cabinet meets on Friday.

On RTÉ News, Mr Ryan said that while “nothing is certain”, he said that the position we’re in currently is “a lot better than it looked a number of weeks ago”. He went on to say that the restrictions could be lifted “very quickly” and “very widely”.

Yesterday, Ireland’s Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the rollout of the booster campaign and built-up herd immunity may lead to a “reduction in public health measures”.

The Irish Times reports that Minister Donnelly hopes that we are headed to a situation where there is “as minimal an impact as possible on people’s lives, whilst maintaining background surveillance on the disease”.

Reports suggest that next week could see the 8pm closing time for indoor hospitality be lifted and the return of normal opening and closing hours.

Additionally, the number of guests allowed to attend weddings and events is likely to be increased.

The reopening of nightclubs will be looked at later.

It is understood that masks will still be required to be worn in numerous settings and the use of Covid vaccine passes will still be needed for international travel.

The Dáil returns this afternoon, and NPHET are set to meet tomorrow to provide recommendations on easing measures. Friday will see the meeting of the Cabinet Covid sub-committee and the full Cabinet.

The Health Minister’s comments emerge after the Tánaiste said yesterday that he hopes the majority of restrictions will be lifted in March.

31 March was the date suggested by Leo Varadkar as that is when the emergency legislation requiring the use of vaccine certs in the hospitality sector expires.

However, the Independent reports that the Fine Gael’s comments came with the caveat of a “health warning”.

Yesterday saw the Department of Health record 5,767 new cases of Covid-19 while a further 5,916 cases were logged via the HSE’s antigen test system.

There were also 979 people in hospital with Covid-19 as of 8am yesterday, with 93 people in the ICU.

Feature image: Sam Boal/