DUBLIN, Ireland: Taoiseach Micheal Martin confirmed on Saturday that Ireland's bars, cafes, hotels and restaurants will remain closed until mid-summer.
The nation's hospitality industry has been shut for much of the past 12 months.
Ireland has the 16th highest rate of Covid-19 among the 30 countries being reviewed by the European Centre for Disease Control.
Officials are particularly concerned because of the introduction in Ireland of the British mutation of the Covid virus.
On the other hand, in the 14 days leading up to Friday there were only one-fifth the number of Covid cases in Ireland as in previous months.
"No consideration will be given to opening hospitality until mid-summer ... the numbers of the virus are far too high," Martin said during an interview with state broadcaster RTE.
"Any easing of the restrictions has to be slow and cautious because of the threat from new variants of the disease," he added.
Ireland has reported 4,135 deaths from coronavirus.