THE GOVERNMENT is refusing to rule out reintroducing a number of strict Covid-19 restrictions heading into Christmas, despite the fact Freedom Day is fast approaching.
On October 22, the vast majority of Covid-19 public health measures in Ireland are set to be lifted or significantly eased in what will be the country's first major step towards a return to normality.
Physical distancing, vaccine certificates and limits on public gatherings are to be scrapped, while face masks will only be required in retail settings and on public transport going forward.
That being said, it's understood that the government is keeping the prospect of reintroducing a number of these rules in its back pocket, in the event that Ireland experiences another significant wave of infection.
They are reserving the right to trigger a resumption of powers due to the unpredictable nature of the virus and the pandemic in general.
"As a result, a response to the disease that is agile and flexible with an ability to pivot rapidly and respond to any new emerging threats needs to be ensured," Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil.
It comes just a day after Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the country was "on track" to reopen as planned on October 22.
Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the epidemiological modelling advisory group in the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said the same, and predicted a slow and steady decline in cases earlier this week.
"Right now we’re in a good place. We’re actually tracking the most optimistic of the scenarios that we would have presented to Government at the end of August," he said referring to October 22.
"So, there’s nothing in the numbers that would change the advice that NPHET would have given."