The hospitality sector was dealt a blow on Thursday 18th February when Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed in an interview that the country should expect at least nine more weeks of severe lockdown.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, the Taoiseach said that hospitality businesses such as bars, restaurants and cafés, as well as services such as barbers and hair salons, may stay closed well beyond the end of April.

Offering a ray of hope, he promised that “We’ll be in a different space” by June, hinting at a potential reopening of businesses during the summer.

Taoiseach Martin said that there will not be a full return to construction by 5th March. He also confirmed that schools will reopen on a phased basis over the coming weeks, starting with junior and senior infants and Leaving Cert students.

At the same time, the Cabinet COVID 19 subcommittee heard that strict restrictions could remain in place until early May.

The Government is expected to reveal a revised Living with COVID plan over the coming days. Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Taoiseach Martin said: “What’ll happen next will be modest, I wouldn’t overstate it in the sense of announcements and so on.”

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