The fate of the hospitality sector over the Christmas period will be decided following a crunch meeting between the Government and Nphet this week.
The country is set to move back to Level 3 restrictions from next week, but the Taoiseach has cast doubt over large gatherings involving alcohol.
There are divisions within the Cabinet over whether pubs and restaurants should fully reopen ahead of the usually busy Christmas period and the final decisions around the easing of these restrictions are not expected to be hammered out until Thursday
Speaking to the Irish Examiner Micheál Martin said shops will reopen from December 1. He said the Government will be "flexible" in terms of guidance that they will give families, particularly on Christmas week itself, but cautioned that "individual behaviour" and "our own collective behaviour is going to be critical" on how we get through the festive season.
Mr Martin also said the rollout of an effective vaccine in the first half of 2021 would spark a "rebound for the economy".
While the Government will listen to any recommendations Nphet provide later this week, they have also commissioned a separate body of work to identify specific places or circumstances where the virus is most likely to spread and are also looking at the socio-economic impacts of certain measures. All of this will feed into the final Cabinet decision.
Mr Martin said: "Our aim has always been to exit level 5 onto level 3 on December 1, that is our aim and our objective and that would allow non-essential retail to open up and to give something in advance of Christmas to them.
"What our own data is showing us really is looking back over the summer to the September, October period is that congregation, large crowds gathering, alcohol, events, all of those things coming together proved the cause of a lot of spikes in different parts of the country, we have to try to avoid that again into the future, people need to be aware of that," he said.