The National Public Health Emergency Team has given the green light to ending most Covid-19 public health restrictions.
It is understood that only mask wearing, Covid passes for international travel and isolation when symptomatic are to remain in place.
A letter from the Chief Medical Officer regarding NPHET's recommendations was sent to Government this evening.
It does not contain any timeline for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions - this leaves it to Cabinet to decide the speed at which this will happen.
Government is tomorrow set to announce a timetable for when restrictions will be lifted.
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Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe the Government would consider NPHET's recommendations tomorrow and a decision would then be made on any easing of restrictions.
He said that it was "reasonable to assume" we would be able to exit current regulations "at a quicker pace".
Minister Donohoe said that Government had always been guided by public health advice and looked to "get the balance right" between the needs of society and the economy and public health, and that was what it would continue to do.
Do you think we should see a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions? Or a more rapid re-opening of our hospitality and service industry?— RTÉ Prime Time (@RTE_PrimeTime) January 20, 2022
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe discusses the most recent NPHET recommendations with Fran McNulty.#rtept pic.twitter.com/AXtegd029G
Tonight, the Restaurants Association of Ireland called on the Government to allow all hospitality businesses trade as normal from tomorrow.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said the news from NPHET has been eagerly awaited by the entire hospitality and late night sectors for a long, long time.
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."
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland said its members were ready to "fully reopen from Friday".
Padraig Cribben said: "NPHET has no objection to a full reopening of pubs so we need to go for it now. Northern Ireland is fully reopening over the coming days so it’s important we make the same decision.
"While it will take considerable time for the hospitality sector to fully recover from the past two years, this weekend marks a new beginning for the trade."
NPHET has given the green light to ending most public health restrictions. It's understood that only mask wearing, Covid passes for international travel and isolation when symptomatic are to remain in place. Government to announce tomorrow when restrictions will be lifted.— Mícheál Lehane (@MichealLehane) January 20, 2022
Earlier, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Covid-19 had not gone away but it was his view that people could look forward to an earlier lifting of restrictions before the end of the month.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Martin said he hopes to be in a position tomorrow evening to give an update on the lifting of restrictions and how people live with Covid going forward.
Ireland has come through the Omicron wave better than expected and in the "medium term the situation is positive", he said.
He said this was due to a combination of a good booster campaign and the fact that the Omicron variant was less impactful than previous strains of the virus.
"We are definitely in a new phase," he said.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said we are "entering into a new phase" and hopes to give a "comprehensive clear position in terms of the lifting of restrictions" tomorrow | Read more: https://t.co/WHJtVo4fhu pic.twitter.com/P82uA89p4R— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 20, 2022
The Taoiseach said the current 8pm closing time for the hospitality sector is in place until the end of the month, but said he thinks people can "look forward to an earlier lifting of restrictions".
However, he warned there are some elements of Covid-19 measures that may be kept, adding that there "could be another chapter and we need to be vigilant and mindful of that".
Mr Martin said mask wearing will be an important feature and he thinks that public health advice will maintain that.
The booster campaign will continue until April, he said, because so many who were infected with Omicron were unable to get the booster.
He urged people to get the booster if they are eligible and said he does have some concerns about the uptake of boosters among younger people over the last while.
Mr Martin said he is also concerned that sometimes the messaging regarding vaccination is being lost and said there will be a doubling down of the campaign on vaccination.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that Covid-19 guidelines in relation to schools and workplaces will be updated following the announcement of the easing of restrictions tomorrow.
Earlier, the Stadium Director of Croke Park and Commercial Director of the GAA said he is hopeful that larger crowds will be allowed to attend matches in the stadium soon.
Peter McKenna said indications from the Department of Sport have been positive but the return to larger crowds may be graduated.
Currently every venue is limited to 5,000 spectators and an 8pm curfew.
Mr McKenna said a graduated return would not be a concern for the GAA at this time of the year because national league matches would never be sold out. However, he added that there is a need to move to full houses quickly.
"If you think about it, there's very little difference between having 100% in Croke Park and having 75% in Croke Park, because three quarters of the ground are going to be full anyway and people will be sitting beside each other."
Mr McKenna said there is a great programme of events ahead this year and that a lot of work has been done with the local community to "bring people with us".
Additional reporting by Fergal Bowers