A plan to draft new mandatory mask laws has been approved by Cabinet.
Ministers today gave the go-ahead for the new legislation, which will allow the Government to reintroduce mandatory masks in certain settings if necessary.
Sources stressed there are no plans to bring back a mask mandate at the moment and no such settings have been identified.
However, they compared the legislation to buying winter tyres for a car.
Ministers want to have the power available to bring back a mask mandate should there be a big COVID surge in the winter.
The actual laws haven't been drafted yet and won't be passed before the Dáil's summer recess.
However, they will be on the agenda early in the new term in September.
The previous legislation, giving power to mask mandates and other COVID restrictions, lapsed earlier this year.