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Ireland set to reopen restaurants, gastropubs from Dec. 7: reports

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Dublin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's cabinet will be asked on Friday to approve the reopening of restaurants and pubs that serve food from Dec. 7, a week after non-essential retailers will be allowed open their doors again, a number of local media outlets reported.

Ireland became one of first European countries to reimpose tough COVID-19 constraints on Oct. 21 when the government shut all non-essential retail and limited pubs and restaurants to takeaway service under its highest level of COVID-19 curbs.

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday that retailers currently constrained to click-and-collect services would be the first to reopen when the restrictions are lifted on Dec. 1.

Varadkar also said he hoped that bans around travel between counties would be lifted for something close to two weeks around the Christmas holidays.

Senior ministers met late on Thursday to finalise the proposals to be put to the rest of cabinet ahead of an announcement by Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Friday.

A government spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

Ireland's 14-day incidence rate of cases has fallen sharply to 103.9 per 100,000 people from over 300 last month - the third lowest of the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

However the decline has stalled in the last two weeks and the reproduction rate of the disease has not quite fallen to the mark health officials targeted to keep cases at a low level for a sustained period as the curbs are lifted.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Richard Pullin)

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