The reopening of hospitality will not be considered until the middle of summer, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said.
He expressed concern about uncertainties surrounding new variants of coronavirus and high numbers of infections.
Mr Martin said: “We don’t foresee that (reopening pubs etc) before the middle of the summer.
“What the public health authorities are saying is that we stick with this until end of April, then we reflect on the situation and make decisions about the months ahead.”
Three cases of the potentially more infectious Brazilian mutation have been detected in Ireland.
He also told RTÉ that reopening the country will be a slow process.
“There won’t be much of a change (after this phase) because the numbers are still too high,” he said.
“What we intend is to reopen schools gradually, it will be slow, we’ll be cautious, because we have to monitor the effect on the virus.
“The biggest challenge we face is new variants as they could impact the vaccines.
“It’s sensible to open slowly, as the vaccines are coming.”