The Government says a decision is due within days on possible changes to isolation rules for Covid close contacts.

It comes as business representatives warn of a break down in supply chains because of staff absences.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar referred in a tweet to the latest guidelines from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (EECDPC) which he said offers new options on close contact rules.

Mr Varadkar said there will be update next week while Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said public health officials are working with EU colleagues on changes to the restrictions.

The EECDPC’s advice depends on different scenarios - for instance if the healthcare system and society is under "extreme pressure" then vaccinated people who are close contacts would only be required to wear high quality masks and to socially distance for 10 days instead of isolating.

The employers' group IBEC had called from a reduction in the current requirement for up to 10 days isolation.

Arnold Dillon of the the organisation's Retail Ireland section said there is concern that supply chains may break down over the next couple of weeks because of staff absences running as high as 27%.

Leonard Fay, manager of SuperValu in Bearna, Co Galway, said he has had to reduce opening times because of a lack of staff mainly due to isolation requirements.

He also said there had been "pressure points" in the supply of stock.

The service industry has also been affected with many hair and beauty salons forced to close.

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Angie Dromgoole of Zeba hair salon in Dublin said it had managed to stay open because it had a large number of staff.

But business is down by around 40% largely due to cancellations by customers required to isolate, she added.

Ms Dromgoole also said that restrictions on hospitality had also hit demand.

She said businesses are hoping that the infection rates from the current wave will fall quickly later this month.