No consideration will be given to opening hospitality until mid-summer, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.
Speaking on RTÉ's Raidió na Gaeltachta, Mr Martin said that the coronavirus numbers are far too high and that the Government and public health officials are particularly concerned about the emergence of new variants.
Asked about the reopening of hospitality, Mr Martin said he did not foresee that happening before the middle of the summer
"What the public health authorities are saying is that we stick with this until end of April, then we reflect on the situation and make decisions about the months ahead," he said.
Responding to the Taoiseach's comments, Restaurants Association of Ireland CEO Adrian Cummins said:
'Restaurants and hospitality businesses will now be "closer to financial ruin and meltdown".
"The Government now needs to increase the level of business supports for all hospitality businesses in :
order for the survival of the sector and remain ready to reemploy hundreds of thousands of tourism and hospitality workers currently on the PUP payment," the statement continued.
"The Government now needs to set out clearly what level/percentage of the population that will be required to be vaccinated in order to fully reopen all hospitality businesses.
"Finally, the Government needs to clarify if mid-summer for reopening is the start of June or the start of July as businesses will need to plan for reopening with public health allows."