A third lockdown may be needed in January following Christmas celebrations, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
He has warned the Government will have to avoid the risk of a third wave being caused by socialising at Christmas.
The Taoiseach warns in the Dáil the "second wave is not over by any means"
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 24, 2020
Cabinet ministers will meet again on Thursday or Friday to finalise the plans for the next month.
Mr Varadkar has said while restrictions should be eased next week, they also should not go too far.
"I believe we should seek to ease restrictions next week, but not so much so that requires us to return to level four or five for a prolonged period in the new year.
"A short, third period of enhanced restrictions may well be necessary in January or February - but we should try to avoid it being a prolonged one".
Earlier Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said it is likely the country will re-open in stages and 'not all in one go'.
He said: "Today's only the start of a week of deliberation - we'll make a call closer to [the end of the week].
"I'd imagine it will be a kind of staged opening - it all won't be in one go."
Meanwhile, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said they have to strike the right balance in the run up to Christmas.
He said: "We have to balance a range of considerations.
"We will of course have to listen very carefully to the advice of NPHET. There are also very valid economic considerations - December is a crucial month for large parts of our economy.
"We also have to take into account that Christmas is a really important time for so many people across the country."
Reporting by Sean Defoe