To-day (Tuesday 4th August) is D-Day for hotel bars and pubs.
The Cabinet is to decide later today on whether to proceed with Phase 4 of the country's reopening next Monday.
This would include the reopening of pubs and hotel bars as well as allowing gatherings up to 500 people outdoors.
It has been described as a 'make or break day' for the industry by the Vintners' Federation of Ireland, which represents 3,500 pubs outside of Dublin.
It said the already delayed reopening is putting a huge strain on publicans, their families and communities, who, the VFI said, have been forced to stand aside while big gatherings happen in uncontrolled environments like house parties.
Meanwhile, 106 towns and villages are to benefit immediately from €2.8m in funding to help communities adapt to a world changed by Covid-19.
Street furniture; widening of walkways and footpaths; adapting community spaces for socially-distanced use; outdoor cinema screens and marquees to facilitate ‘all-weather’ community events are some of the items to be funded.
Announcing the funding, Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys said: “It is vitally important that we increase footfall in rural towns and villages by supporting them to adapt to this ‘new normal’ as a result of Covid-19.
"This funding will benefit communities by altering the streetscapes so that people can shop, work, and socialise safely."
Meanwhile, random Covid-19 testing is to begin at airports because the "international situation is becoming more volatile," Health Minister Mr Donnelly announced on Sunday.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has refused to be drawn on whether the remaining pubs can reopen their doors next week, either fully or with restricted hours.
He said he has sympathy with pub owners but that all options will be considered with a view to keeping the re-opening of schools on track.
Minister Donnelly said he will be guided by the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team, which will meet this morning to discuss the options .
That will be followed by a meeting of the Cabinet this afternoon, when an updating of the Government Green List for foreign travel will also be considered.
Yesterday, the Department of Health was notified of 46 additional cases of Covid-19, with no new deaths recorded.