Office Christmas parties will be strictly prohibited under proposed new rules for reopening restaurants and pubs.
maximum of six people will be permitted to book a table in a restaurant or pubs that serves food on its premises from December 4.
But customers will be warned they cannot book multiple tables to facilitate large parties or gatherings over the Christmas period.
Each person must also buy a €9 meal which is produced on site by the restaurant or pub.
In guidance given to ministers last week, senior civil officials specifically said business related gatherings and events should not be permitted under the new rules.
They also said workplaces should be told they cannot sponsor nights out as part of the restrictions on restaurants and pubs.
The advice from the Senior Officials Group said this includes Christmas office parties which may be planned for the coming month.
Organised gatherings are not permitted under Level 3 of the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19.
Live or loud music is also to be banned to lessen the chances of people raising their voices which can lead to the virus spreading more rapidly.
On Friday, restaurants and pubs across the country will reopen for the first time in seven weeks.
The Government overruled the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) advice to keep them closed over Christmas.
The group led by Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said they should remain closed to allow for more family gatherings closer to Christmas Day.
However, the Cabinet decided to open up the hospitality industry and allow for social visits in family homes from December 18 to January 6.
People will also be permitted to travel outside their own county during this period to see family and friends.
So called wet pubs that do not serve food are to remain closed until the new year at least.
Separately, the Government has been advised to extend international travel restrictions to children under six years old.
At present, children under six are exempt from travel restrictions.
However, the Senior Officials Group said they are concerned about the high number of children traveling with their families over Christmas to countries with high rates of Covid-19.
This means all children will now have to adhere to the international travel restrictions which means they may have to restrict their movements for two week after they return to Ireland.
Under the EU traffic light system, people travelling from ‘orange’ countries must produced a negative test threes days before travelling to avoid the requirement to restrict movements for a fortnight.
Those travelling from a ‘red’ list countries must produce a negative test before they arrive and restrict movements for five days after arrival.
If they can produced a negative test result from an Irish tester after five days they no longer have to restrict their movements.
Source: Irish News