Covid: 11,161 cases as hospitality sector hopes normal closing times may return tomorrow

Covid: 11,161 Cases As Hospitality Sector Hopes Normal Closing Times May Return Tomorrow Covid: 11,161 Cases As Hospitality Sector Hopes Normal Closing Times May Return Tomorrow
The Taoiseach is due to make an announcement regarding the easing of restrictions on Friday evening. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

Cabinet are meeting this afternoon to sign off on the removal of most Covid-19 restrictions, with a timeframe likely to be outlined by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in an address to the nation tonight.

The Taoiseach's announcement will follow the Department of Health's confirmation of 11,161 additional cases of the virus - 6,597 confirmed by PCR tests and 4,564 notified through the HSE's antigen test result portal.

On Friday morning, there were 892 patients with Covid in hospital, 88 of whom were being treated in ICU.

According to the Irish Examiner, the 8pm closing time for hospitality could be scrapped as soon as Saturday.


Representative groups from the sector have called for the curfew to be lifted on Friday night, with pubs and restaurateurs ready to extend hours.

Nphet recommendations

Cabinet are considering recommendations from health chiefs to end most of the State’s Covid restrictions.

It is understood the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended restrictions around hospitality can be lifted, including the requirement for a Covid pass to enter premises.

Nphet met on Thursday evening and issued a series of recommendations in a letter to ministers.

They include that live venues and sport venues can return to full capacity, an end to restrictions on household guests and a phased return to work.

However, the wearing of face masks is recommended to continue on public transport and in retail settings and Covid passes will still be needed for international travel.

This evening's announcement will be Micheál Martin's 23rd state of the nation address and is due to take place shortly after 6.30pm.

Speaking on his way into Government Buildings on Friday morning, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the view across Government was that “if there’s no longer a public health rationale for a restriction, there’s no political rationale for it either.”


Mr Varadkar would not be drawn on specifics but said "some work is needed" to decide when certain restrictions that are underpinned by regulation or primary legislation can be removed.

There are things that need to be worked out.

"There are things that need to be worked out. To make something that’s currently illegal legal can require a ministerial order to be rescinded, it sometimes requires primary legislation to be repealed, so we need to do a bit of work today on the timing," he said.

Mr Martin previously promised tonight's address will be "clear and comprehensive".

“The situation is positive. We have come through Omicron better than we might have expected prior to Christmas,” he told RTÉ.

As restrictions ease, Government should 'bolster'...
Read More

“The combination of the booster campaign and vaccination and the fact that Omicron does not seem to be as virulent as Delta and previous waves has meant that the impact on people, in terms of severe illness and death and ICUs, has been much less.

“So, therefore, I think people can be positive, we can be positive.”

While there is a possibility of the hospitality closing time being amended tomorrow, the Irish Examiner reports that the majority of restrictions will be lifted starting next week.

One senior minister said the Nphet advice was "all good", while a Nphet source said the advice was optimistic but warned there is still a long way to go until Covid is a thing of the past.

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2022, developed by Square1 and powered by