It is understood that the Cabinet has agreed that pubs that do not serve food will be able to reopen from 21 September.

This will be subject to local restrictions that may arise from time to time.

Other items, such as international travel restrictions and attendance at sports events, are likely to be dealt with in the Government’s medium-term Living With Covid-19 plan, which is set to be published next Monday.

Draft Government guidelines, which were drawn up in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, were circulated to vintners’ groups last weekend.

They are broadly the same as those that have been brought in for pubs where food is being served.

These include keeping customer records for contact tracing purposes and time slots that are limited to one hour and 45 minutes where physical distancing of one metre can be maintained.

However, time slots of 105 minutes would not be a requirement where physical distancing of two metres can be “strictly maintained”.

There will also be strict regulations such as a requirement that all drinks will be served at tables only and these tables must be socially distanced.

Separately, with concerns over the number of Covid-19 cases reported in Dublin and Limerick recently, senior political sources have indicated that some type of restrictions could be introduced in both cities soon.

Padraic Cribben, Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, has repeated his call for additional supports for owners of so-called wet pubs.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Cribben also said a reinstatement of the use of the bar, as opposed to table service, will be a priority “once there is confidence that the guidelines are being complied with”.

He welcomed the prospect of pubs reopening and said pub owners have “mounting bills” after being closed for six months.

He said he looks forward to addressing this issue with Government and that “real support” will be in place so that pubs can open on Monday-week.

Mr Cribben said social distancing and the 11.30pm closing time are the key aspects of the Government guidelines, but he said the “biggest single issue is the use of the bar which is very important in small pubs”.

“As things settle down that will be a priority, to see how we can change that after the 21st when there is confidence that the guidelines are being complied with and hopefully when the virus begins to recede, that becomes key to a lot of pubs.”

Read More: Mícheál Lehane
Political Correspondent