A Cabinet meeting gets underway at 4pm to sign-off on tighter restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

An official announcement is expected later this evening or tonight.

It's expected that schools will stay open, but most non-essential retail will close under the new restrictions.

This will mean hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, gyms, swimming pools and non-essential retail outlets closing, possibly for up to 4 weeks.

Some Ministers have suggested there needs to be a lead-in period of a number of days for the new restrictions, to allow businesses to make plans.

This might mean the new restrictions not coming into force until the middle of the week.

Travel limits are also being discussed, with people potentially being limited to going no further than 5 or 10 kilometres from their homes, while pubs and restaurants will be limited to a takeaway service only .

Limiting the hours off-licences can open is also under consideration.

However, schools and construction sites will remain open, while the GAA championship and elite sport are set to continue.

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