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New Two Week NI Lockdown

by Andrew Boggs
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New Two Week NI Lockdown

Northern Ireland faces a new 2 week lockdown from next Friday

After a late evening decision from the executive on Thursday night, Northern Ireland will see a set of tougher Covid-19 restrictions come into force next Friday.

For a two-week period starting next Friday, all non-essential retail will have to shut down as well as the hospitality sector. Schools will be allowed to remain open.

From today until Friday, close contact services will be allowed to reopen. If these services choose not to reopen over the next week they will be eligible to receive financial support.

The measures put in place by the executive are as follows:

  •         Closure of all non-essential retail
  •         Closure of the hospitality service (Takeaways will still be allowed and exemptions are in place for motorway services, airports, and harbour terminals)
  •         Closure of close contact services (Again, exemptions are in place for film and TV production, health and social care services, and elite sport services)
  •         Sporting Events are only permitted at the elite level and must be played without spectators
  •         Closure of leisure and entertainment services. This includes gyms, golf courses, tennis courts, fitness studios, and swimming pools
  •         Closure of places of worship (exceptions will be made for weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals)

This new two-week circuit breaker is almost as stringent as the initial lockdown in March of this year. There can be no gatherings of more than one household other than current bubble arrangements with exceptions for caring, maintenance, and house moves.

Off licences can remain open but they must close by 8pm, unlike the full Lockdown, schools, and childcare will remain open.

The executive is meeting over the next few days to develop new financial support packages.

This is a U-turn by the DUP who just last week used the controversial cross-community vote to veto lighter restrictions.  Health Minister Robin Swann has thanked his colleagues for supporting his recommendation to lockdown and urged the public to listen to and follow the new regulations.

“All of us now have to work really hard to achieve a happier festive season. Please follow the public health advice and stay at home. Let’s all redouble our efforts and look after each other.”

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