It's looking increasingly likely the full reopening of pubs and restaurants will be delayed
A delay to the full return of indoor hospitality is looking increasingly likely, according to new reports on Friday morning.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is currently working on advice to be presented to Government next week.
According to the Irish Times, Government and official sources have indicated the full return of pubs and restaurants will be pushed back from the planned date of 5 July.
It's also reported that there are concerns among senior government figures that further delays may mean it will be autumn before the next window for reopening.
However, a decision has not yet been made and a source said there's still a chance the reopening will continue as planned.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the proposed 5 July indoor dining reopening is an "area of concern" due to an increase in cases stemming from the Delta variant.
During Virgin Media's The Big Interview, the Taoiseach said that the easing of restrictions, including indoor dining on 5 July, is an "area of concern".
"Well, first of all, so far, we've had a very successful and effective reopening," he said.
"What I've said consistently is that anything we open, we want to keep open, the Chief Medical Officer was in discussions with me yesterday - he is concerned about the Delta variant."
Earlier this week, Martin once again stressed the need to be "vigilant" ahead of the 5 July reopening of indoor dining amid a "significant increase" in the Delta Covid-19 variant in Ireland.
Professor Luke O'Neill, meanwhile, has said that annual Covid-19 vaccine booster shots will be the "only way" to deal with new Covid-19 variants such as Delta.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Thursday, the Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin said that the way to "handle these variants" would be booster shots to "really kick off the immune system".
“The only way to handle these variants is booster shots in the autumn, that will really kick off the immune system to protect against multiple variants," he said.