Ministers will not consider reopening hospitality until the middle of the summer, the Taoiseach said.
Micheál Martin expressed concern about uncertainties surrounding new variants of coronavirus and high numbers of infections.
Three cases of the potentially more infectious Brazilian mutation have been detected in Ireland.
Mr Martin said: "We don't foresee that (reopening pubs etc) before the middle of the summer.
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.
"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."
Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Church has said people should be able to gather safely to mark Easter in Ireland.
Ministers should also consider increasing the number of bereaved allowed to attend funerals during the pandemic, Archbishop Eamon Martin urged the Taoiseach.
Mr Martin said his concerns will be given consideration.