Leo Varadkar has stated that he expects restrictions on gatherings to be in place until summer or autumn.
Ireland is in the midst of its third nationwide lockdown with current Level 5 restrictions scheduled to remain in place until January 31. However, it is highly-anticipated that measures will last into February or even longer, with Leo Varadkar having already told businesses to prepare to be closed until the end of March.
Speaking on Newstalk yesterday, An Tánaiste presented an even bleaker outlook, saying that the next easing of restrictions will be a lot slower than previous lockdowns. He said that "it's my view and the Government's broad view, that any reopening we do in the next three months is going to be very gradual.
"As well as that, we would anticipate that social distancing, along with restrictions on gatherings, will remain in place for many months yet, probably into the summer and autumn, unfortunately. It's going to be a slow reopening with the ability to halt or reverse that, if needs be."
44% of all Covid-19 cases in Ireland have occurred in the past two weeks, with the current third wave proving to be much more difficult to manage than the previous two. However, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said that there are "early signs of hope" that cases are coming down.
Yesterday, 3,955 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, along with 28 additional deaths.