Restaurants and pubs are likely to be told to close from 3pm Christmas Eve under proposals being considered by Cabinet today.
The ban on flights from the UK is also expected to be extended until the end of the year.
Last night, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan made a presentation to the coalition party leaders last night.
He set out a stark picture of rising case numbers, as well as fears over the new strain of the virus emerging from the UK.
He told them level five restrictions will be needed at some point after Christmas.
Following that meeting, a number of recommendations are going to Cabinet today.
NPHET officials made a recommendation to move to Level 5 at some point after Christmas. No decision taken on doing that. Cabinet will try this Level 3+ (or whatever they'll call it) first and see where things go
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) December 21, 2020
Under the proposals, restaurants, gastropubs, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, cinemas and galleries will have to close from mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve.
Non-essential retail will, however, be allowed to remain open.
Sources said there will be supports for those businesses that will have to close, but it's unclear whether these will be new schemes.
The ban on inter-county travel will return after St Stephen's Day - however, there will be exemptions for those returning to work.
For example, if someone left Dublin to go home for Christmas, they would be allowed to return to Dublin after the 27th when they are returning to work.
Household visits will also be down to one other household from December 27th.
The travel ban on flights from the UK will be extended until at least December 31st, and kept under review.
The details on when restrictions on household visits will tighten will be debated at Cabinet this morning.
Speaking on his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the country is in a very serious situation.
He said: "Our public health doctors, our infectious disease doctors are deeply concerned about how quickly the virus has spread in the last two weeks, and they're deeply concerned about the variant.
"The Chief Medical Officer wrote to me yesterday... he recommended we move to level five."
Today's Cabinet meeting comes after 727 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday.
NPHET's Professor Philip Nolan said Ireland is now 'clearly in a third wave' of the coronavirus pandemic.