NPHET has approved the easing of almost all Covid-19 restrictions with Cabinet Ministers meeting later to agree a timeline.
Relief and jubilation among Cabinet Ministers last night as the NPHET letter arrived, with one saying it felt like a weight lifted off the shoulders.
The team have recommended the widespread easing of restrictions.
That includes ending early closing times for hospitality, including nightclubs; removing capacity limits at live events and matches; and scrapping the need to have a Covid pass to enter a bar or restaurant.
Health officials also greenlit a phased return to the office for workers.
Government sources saying they won’t hang about to implement NPHET advice. A number of steps to go through but bars, restaurants and nightclubs could return to normal opening hours over the weekend. Cabinet meeting tomorrow
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) January 20, 2022
The only measures likely to remain are mask wearing in shops and on public transport, Covid passes for travel, some special guidance for schools and the test, trace and isolate system.
NPHET hasn't set out a timeline for Government, leaving that for politicians to decide today.
Ministers say they have no intention of hanging about, but some legal regulations do need to be unwound.
Sources left open the idea last night that normal trading hours for hospitality could return from tomorrow, with nightclubs also opening.
If not tomorrow Monday was the other date being discussed.
However there's a belief it will be impossible to police a curfew this weekend now the contents of the NPHET letter are public knowledge.
The Government party leaders meet this morning; the full Cabinet will discuss things in the afternoon; and Taoiseach Micheál Martin plans to address the nation at 6pm.
Report by Sean Defoe