Minister Eamon Ryan says details around weddings "still need to be worked out"
The Taoiseach is expected to address the nation on Friday.
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan has insisted that people can still have "a social Christmas" despite the onset of imminent new Covid-related restrictions.
The National Public Health and Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended fresh measures to Government, including a proposed 5pm curfew for the hospitality industry and further indoor public gatherings.
Cabinet will meet on Friday afternoon following a midday Cabinet sub-committee meeting, with Taoiseach Michaél Martin expected to address the nation in the evening.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme, Minister Ryan noted that none of NPHET's proposed measures have yet been officially approved by Government.
It is understood that limitations on household visits will not change. At present, people from as many as three households can gather in a fourth household.
From Monday, NPHET is recommending a 5pm shutdown for pubs and restaurants as well as sporting, theatre and cultural gatherings – including cinemas – in addition to a reduction to 50% capacity – or a maximum of 5,000 people – for outdoor events.
It is presently unclear how weddings will be affected.
“We can still have a social Christmas," Ryan said.
"It’s part of our health as well to meet each other and to meet family and we can and will still do that," he added.
With major concern growing over both the rise and nature of the Omicron variant, Minister Ryan underlined the immediate challenges ahead.
“The key thing is we do have a surge coming," he said. "This new variant does seem more transmissible and may have the ability to escape some vaccines."
Asked about weddings, Ryan said "those details still need to be worked out" and pointed to Friday's planned meeting.
The Minister spoke in favour of schools remaining open until the Christmas holidays and moved to reassure parents that the institutions are safe environments.
“The evidence is we’re not seeing significant incidence in our schools – incidence within our schools and childcare facilities are low so I think people should take that into account before taking their kids out of school," he said.
Sporting events should still go ahead as far as the Minister is concerned, but with reduced crowds.
Feature image via Sam Baol / RollingNews.ie.