THE PEOPLE of Ireland have been warned to prepare for festivities such as Christmas, New Year and Halloween to happen "within a Covid-19 environment" this year.
Health officials have stressed that these significant milestones will not be cancelled, but have urged the public to plan for them with an eye on coronavirus regulations.
"Take control of your own environment by ensuring your household is up to date on, and actioning, the public health advice," said Professor Pete Lunn, head and founder of the ESRI's Behavioural Research Unit.
"Make it a habit to get outside, to socialise and exercise safely and automatically physically distance from others. Adapt to Covid-responsible behaviours in and out of the home.
"Plan for the milestones; such as Halloween, Christmas and New Years Eve within a Covid-19 environment. Be innovative in how you can celebrate safely with loved ones," he added.
"This year will bring added challenges so prioritise your mental and physical health, know how you will invest in them each week."
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has confirmed that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has no plans to prevent public celebrations of Christmas, New Year or Halloween, but admitted that final decisions would likely be made closer to the time.
"I'm sure as it comes closer to the time we can get some specific messages to help people socialise and do things safely but again it comes back to the key message that the single greatest predictor of how safe it will be to participate in activities, either at Halloween or Christmas or any other time, is the underlying circulating levels of the virus," he said.
"At the moment they’re increasing, and we need to get them to decrease, particularly as I said, in the capital and in Limerick."