The Cabinet has given the green light for the country to emerge from Level 5 restrictions next Tuesday, approving its multi-phased plan to re-open the economy and society.
All retail, museums, gyms, tennis courts and golf course will re-open from Tuesday.
From next Friday, all restaurants and pubs with kitchens will be allowed open, but wet pubs will remain shut.
From December 18th, home visits for up to three households will commence along with a relaxation of travel rules, meaning that people can move about throughout the country to visit relations for Christmas.
According to the Irish Examiner, the Government will advise against hugging and shaking hands over Christmas this evening when it announces a “balanced” plan to exit Level 5.
Cabinet sources say that the deal “contains a lot for a good Christmas” but “strikes a balance with public health messaging”.
While people will be allowed have visitors to their homes from December 18th, they will be told not to hug or shake hands and to wear a face-covering while serving or cooking dinner.
Senior Government sources have said they realise they are taking a “calculated risk” but have argued the progress made since entering Level 5 restrictions has enabled the relaxation of the rules.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin is due to address the nation later this evening.