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21st Jan 2022

Majority of Covid restrictions to be lifted at 6am

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Nature is healing.

The majority of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland are set to be removed from 6am on Saturday as the new Nphet proposals are set to be agreed by Cabinet.

The new rules will see limits on household visits, early closing time for hospitality and events, capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor events including weddings, social distancing, the rule-of-six at a table, the Covid pass system and the requirement to maintain contact details for close contact tracing all being erased.

Pubs and restaurants are set to return to regular opening hours with nightclubs also set to reopen as normal tomorrow.

Table service only and social distancing in bars will also be removed.

While discussions are still ongoing, Government sources have revealed to the Independent that Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan are happy to go back to normal trading hours from tomorrow.

From Monday, businesses will also start a phased return to the workplace depending on their specific circumstances, with masks staying in place in retail settings and on public transport until February 28th, with measures in schools and childcare facilities remaining until then also.

There are also plans to maintain the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme as a way of helping employers return to pre-pandemic sales.

Leo Varadkar earlier was reluctant to refer to this as Freedom Day which is often what it has been referred to as, warning of possible threats of the virus at later stages.

He added that Nphet has recommended the reopening of society on a phased basis but not for every aspect of society.