It will be up to parents to make "judgement calls" about their children's social activities over the next few weeks, Eamon Ryan says.
Senior ministers are today considering new guidelines that would see children from third class up wearing masks in school, on public transport and in shops - although it won't be a legal requirement.
It's also likely parents will be asked to limit children's social interactions to just one activity a week outside schools.
While NPHET recommended a two-week halt to indoor activities, ministers are instead likely to encourage parents to strictly limit the social activity of children.
For example, children could go to a pantomime one week and a playdate the next - but not both in one week.
On his way into the Cabinet meeting, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said there won't be a 'strict no' for any given activity.
He said: “For children, it’s the same as adults: restrict socialisation. It’s not that you can’t do one thing or the other. Parents will be a good judge of that.
“Their parents will have to make the judgement calls - just to reduce the amount of socialisation."
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said parents will have clarity later today on the new advice.
He said COVID-19 incidence is particularly high in 9, 10 and 11 year-olds.
He noted the evidence is that masks have been “very effective” in secondary schools, so ministers will now be discussing extending that further to older primary school children.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, meanwhile, said the public health advice has already been given by NPHET - with health officials asking people to reduce socialisation for now.
He said there's a “very high incidence” of COVID among 5-11 year olds and their parents, hence the recommendation to reduce inter-household mixing for the next few weeks.