The vaccine programme has gone as well as anyone could possibly have expected across all parts of the UK, and here in Northern Ireland the take-up rate has been exceptional. This has meant that the number of deaths per week has gone down to single figures which, from where we were just a couple of months ago, is very heartening to see.
Northern Ireland Executive Meet This Week
All this means that when the Northern Ireland Executive meet this week on May 13th, they will be under extreme pressure to ease many of the lockdown restrictions which are in place at this moment in time. This is the date set for when they evaluate how successful the restrictions and the vaccine roll-out has been so far and what they can further open up on May 24th.
List Of Restrictions Which Could Be Lifted
Below is a list of restrictions which could be lifted on that date if the Executive are satisfied with the progress so far, these have been copied from an article on the Belfast Live website:
Reopening unlicensed and licensed premises indoors with mitigations.
Reopening the remainder of Tourist accommodation.
Allowing visits indoors in domestic settings.
Reopening indoor visitor and cultural attractions, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and bingo halls. Music venues are not included in this indicative date. Resume indoor group exercise and training in numbers limited to suit the venue.
The resumption of post-funeral gatherings (numbers to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue). The resumption of post-wedding ceremony receptions or functions (numbers to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue).
Air Of Hope Around
Speaking of the air of hope around in the same article, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) CEO Janice Gault said:
“There is optimism that the indicative opening date of May 24, 2021 will become a reality.
“Undoubtedly, there will be challenges ahead but, what there is no doubt about, is the tenacity and commitment of Northern Ireland’s hoteliers as we move into this next phase. Everyone is aware of the responsibilities that rest on our collective shoulders to adhere to best practice.
“Reflecting on the last year, one which feels more like a decade than a mere twelve months, few would envy those charged with making many difficult and unprecedented choices. For the tourism and hospitality sectors, it has been difficult and even when closed, the industry appears to be blamed for issues that were outside of its control.
“What is clear is that, if we are to make the type of economic recovery that is required, a more holistic approach to decision making may be needed, as COVID-19 moves from the pandemic to endemic status.”
Hope is most definitely in the air right now, let us all hope it stays there!