He said it is not something that can be ruled out but the current epidemiological situation does not warrant it.

He said there is now growing evidence that we are seeing at least a stabilisation of the positivity rate and the numbers in hospital.

Mr Varadkar said it is the Government’s hope and intention to be able to keep the hospitality sector and the events sector open across the winter period including Christmas.

“That will all depend on what happens with cases and the situation in the hospitals over the next week or two,” he said.

“But I do acknowledge the fact that unlike other sectors, like retail or construction, hospitality are already feeling an impact because people are cancelling events and cancelling parties and we understand that.”

The Tánaiste said he would certainly be speaking to the Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to see if there is anything the Government can do to help that sector to get through the winter period.

“We spent a lot of taxpayers money doing everything we could to make sure that those businesses survived, and those jobs were protected and I wouldn’t like to now not have that support in place as we approach another hurdle.”

In relation to events like pantomimes, he said it is not the case that they have been cancelled at this stage.

He said advice from NPHET was for a two week period so they are not yet saying it is for the entire Christmas period.

“This is an evolving situation,” he added.

He said he understands those putting on pantomimes had made a huge financial outlay and the Government would need to make sure that if they are adversely effected by Government announcements and decisions that they are protected.