LEO VARADKAR has revealed that Covid restrictions are likely to last for at least another four months in Ireland.
Level 5 restrictions are, supposedly, set to end on March 5, but the Tánaiste warned that in reality, very little was going to change between now and the summer.
"What we're going to see is a slow and gradual, conservative, and cautious reopening in the second quarter, so across April, May and June," he said.
"The very strong advice from Government has been to avoid non-essential travel abroad," Varadkar said.
"The advice will most likely stay in place for the duration of the year, if not into next year."
The Fine Gael leader also revealed that the Government was working on a "revised plan to reopen our society and our economy", which should be confirmed in two weeks time subject to Cabinet approval.
He gave a strong indication that strict restrictions will remain in place next month, and noted that hairdressers and barbers would not be reopening until "much later" than March 5.
However, the Tánaiste did share hopes that all construction would resume following March 5.
Speaking about what sort of summer can be expected in 2021, Varadkar said it would be "relatively normal," similar to last summer.
Pressed on whether people could expect to be able to sit in a beer garden again, the Fine Gael leader said: "Yep. Hope so."
Mr Varadkar was speaking to reporters as the country announced a further 556 positive Covid-19 cases.