The Government is considering allowing pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen outside at the end of May, along with the scrapping of the “substantial meal” rule for pubs.
Personal services, including hairdressers and barbers, could reopen in late May under plans to be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday evening, after the Government received advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
A formal announcement on the reopening plans will be made on Thursday evening, with it expected that the Government will also set out plans for June and July.
Vaccine drawing board
Changes to advice on Ireland's Covid vaccine rollout could see people under 50 moved up the queue, the Dáil has heard.
Government this week signed off on a recommendation from the National Immunisation Advisory Council (Niac) that the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs be given to over-50s only.
The HSE is to make adjustments to the rollout plans based on this advice in the coming days, the Taoiseach told the Dáil on Wednesday.
Arlene Foster steps down
Arlene Foster will stand down as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and as Northern Ireland's First Minister in the face of mounting discontent among her party.
In a statement, Ms Foster said: “It is important to give space over the next few weeks for the party officers to make arrangements for the election of a new leader. When elected, I will work with the new leader on transition arrangements.”
Ms Foster had faced a revolt against her leadership over the handling of Brexit and a recent decision to abstain in a Northern Ireland Assembly vote on gay conversion therapy.