Minister Simon Coveney has said living with and being fully aware of Covid-19 is part of the Government's 'Be Winter Ready' campaign.

In his position as Chair of the Taskforce on Emergency Planning, Minister Coveney said as Ireland enters the second full winter living with Covid-19, the current situation is uncertain and of concern.

He said the new restrictions introduced by the Government yesterday are "considered decisions" aimed at trying to avoid more restrictions on people.

Regarding the earlier closing times for nightclubs and late bars, Minister Coveney said those establishments pose a risk factor and that it is not the job of Government to make popular decisions; rather to make them on the basis of public health to protect society.

He said the Government could not rule further restrictions but that the last thing the Government would wish was for further severe restrictions in the build up to Christmas.

Another focus of the winter plan is farm safety, and Mr Coveney said he was "acutely aware" that 23 people lost their lives on farms across the island of Ireland in 2020.

His party colleague, Minister of State Martin Heydon with responsibility for farm safety, said winter storms can have serious impacts on farms and that it is essential farmers carry out any maintenance work now in preparation for bad weather.

Minister Heydon said it is time for a permanent change in attitude when it comes to farm safety; his message to the agricultural community was to "stop taking chances, stop the old habits, stop condoning bad practice". He said that is the only way to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on farms.

Minister Heydon said farmers mental health is also a challenge and that the pandemic curtailed access to the support networks for farmers. He asked the rural community to reach out to farmers, to be mindful of them in the winter months.

Meanwhile, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said the Government's key priority during severe weather like snow and ice is to keep roads open.

She said 206,000 tonnes of salt is available with additional stock available if required.

Minister Naughton pointed to the advice in the Be Winter Ready booklets and website on how best to prepare for severe weather for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

She said it is important to plan and to ensure vehicles are checked and ready for winter.

Evelyn Cusack, Met Éireann's Head of Forecasting, said weather warnings are important to follow.

She said a Status Yellow wind warning should not be ignored. Ms Cusack said that it might not be a storm, but could be dangerous nonetheless.

She said colour coded warnings have only been introduced in the last few years but that people are getting used to them.

Ms Cusack said Met Éireann's warnings are issued because the weather could potentially cause risk.