THE Stormont Executive will meet later today to decide whether to allow drink-only pubs in the North of Ireland from next week.
Pubs that do not serve food have been given an indicative reopening date of Monday, September 21.
The date has already been pushed back twice by executive ministers due to concerns about the virus.
About 600 pubs here that do not serve food are still awaiting the green light to open.
At present, drink-only pubs can only serve customers outdoors.
The hospitality industry in the North of Ireland has argued for a tightening of restrictions and tougher enforcement against establishments that break the rules, to allow more law-abiding pubs to reopen.
Last week, representatives from the sector met executive ministers to call for regulations to be put in place, as opposed to guidance.
It is understood the executive will discuss whether to approve the September 21 date when it meets on Thursday afternoon.
One fly in the ointment is the situation in south Belfast where students are holding house parties in the Holylands district
They normally flock to to local ‘wet-only’ bars during freshers week which starts from Monday, September 21.
There are concerns among medical professionals that the lack of social distancing among students could spread the virus even further.
In the Republic, drink-only pubs are also due to reopen on Monday, September 21.
However, ‘wet’ pubs in Dublin will not reopen.
The capital remains under tighter restrictions due to a rise in cases.