Alcohol only bars can reopen in Northern Ireland.
Around 600 drink only bars can open their doors to customers today. This marks the first time since March that customers can have a drink in pubs that only sell alcohol.
Previously, bars could only open if they also served food or had an outside drinking area. The reopening date for bars had been pushed back twice because of coronavirus concerns.
There is concern about a curfew being imposed. In England and Wales, bars must be closed by 10pm and in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, bars have a curfew of 11:30pm.
What will the bars have to do?
There are mandatory conditions that each bar must meet before they can open and if they want to remain open.
- The venue must collect personal details from each customer to assist contact tracing.
- Table service only, no standing or bar service.
- No dancing
- A maximum of six people from any number of households can be seated at one table. (Children under 12 are not counted)
- If the table is from one household, more than six are allowed to be seated.
- Face Masks should be worn when entering and exiting the venue, once you are seated, the face coverings can be removed.
The new social restrictions for Covid-19 were extended to the whole country from 6pm on Tuesday in an attempt to prevent another wave of cases and another national lockdown.
The First and Deputy First Ministers announced that the new restrictions were not another lockdown, but that they should act as a wake-up call for the population to keep treating the pandemic seriously.
The bi-polar nature of restrictions, being told to stay indoors and work from home, but also opening up the bars, and reducing prices at restaurants creates a confusing dichotomy that may create some issues for controlling the spread of the virus.