One restaurant owner says 'there's something wrong' with the 8.00pm curfew still being imposed on the hospitality sector.
Claire Nash, owner of Nash 19 restaurant in Cork, was speaking after it emerged some NPHET members did not agree with earlier closing times for hospitality and indoor events.
The move was introduced last month, in a bid to reduce socialisation amid concern over the spread of the Omicron variant.
While NPHET recommended a 5.00pm closing time, the Government ultimately decided on an 8.00pm curfew for indoor events instead.
Ahead of the recommendations to Government, more than two dozen members of NPHET met via videoconference on the morning of December 16th to discuss the situation.
Minutes from the meeting show some voiced concern about the proposed curfew, saying such strict measures were "disproportionate" by international comparison.
Ms Nash told The Hard Shoulder it is time to review the situation.
"We would love to see a return to normal trading hours - it was a huge dampener on us pre-Christmas.
"We've got on with it now because we'd this Omicron variant to cope with, and that really opened the flood gates for other issues for us.
"But now it just seems like there's something wrong with this 8 o'clock for our customers, for ourselves.
"We need to get back to a bit of normality."
She says they have really noticed a fall-off since December.
"There's no doubt about it: this last two weeks have been murderous for lots of reasons.
"And it's probably the most difficult part of the COVID two years that we've experienced.
"There's a big shadow over us all now, and we can only hope and just turn the door of it again and get going.
"No matter what you say... €350 of a PUP payment or an EWSS support, there's only so much of that that you can be doing with.
"It's two years later now, we need to get going".
And she says this is also impacting the rest of the economy.
"We'd love to see the return of regular hours - but the thing is the restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cinemas we're all under the same umbrella for this.
"We're sure that there are some NPHET advisors that have considered that we should be re-opened - particularly after the Christmas rush.
"We need to get opened, it's drilling right down into our producers, our butchers, our growers.
"They're really, really restricted now in their ability to get going again.
"And I suppose we're going to just have to look forward to February/March, and the return of the tourist season, before any bit of normality will be established".