More must be done for Northern Ireland's lowest paid workers if the current restrictions are going to be extended, a union leader has warned.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary Owen Reidy was speaking ahead of the Executive's deliberations on whether to lift them on Friday.
He said that as 80% of hospitality workers earn less than the living wage, their furlough pay will take many of them under the national minimum wage.
Mr Reidy also said many workers are not self-isolating because they "simply can't afford to" which he branded a "failure of strategy".
"The Executive has some big decisions to take early this week," he said. "They need to listen very clearly to the health advice given to them by the public health experts and to make an informed decision which they all support as a united Executive."
Describing lockdowns as "a failure of policy", Mr Reidy said Northern Ireland's current restrictions "are not as severe as March/April this year".
He also said he believes that a continuation of those restrictions - or, indeed, some additional ones - are under consideration.
Mr Reidy backed former First Minister Peter Robinson's view that a strategy is needed to deal with the pandemic in Northern Ireland.
And he voiced fears over "serious capacity challenges" for the NHS, saying "there are more people in both hospital and ICU in Northern Ireland than in the Republic, despite our population being a third of theirs".
Referring to "test, trace and isolate", Mr Reidy said the onus was on the Northern Ireland Executive to "build a better system".
With statutory sick pay at "a paltry £95 a week", Mr Reidy said "many workers (including self-employed workers) simply cannot afford to self-isolate".
He said: "Some are choosing either not to get tested if they have symptoms and carry on out of necessity. Or if they get a positive test, they keep working as they cannot afford to live on inadequate sick pay. This is a clear failure of strategy."
Mr Reidy welcomed the extension of the full furlough scheme until March 2021, adding: "Perhaps our politicians would do much better here if they, together, listened to the views of both unions and employers when making decisions that affect our local labour market too."
If the current restrictions are extended in Northern Ireland, Mr Reidy said it's "crucial that we do more for the lowest paid workers in our society".
The ICTU representative added: "The economically vulnerable, as well as those vulnerable to the virus, must be protected."