There will be a further relaxation to the Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland, with the Executive agreeing that these will come into effect from this Friday. These relaxations will include allowing 15 people from 4 separate households to meet indoors, this was previously restricted to 10 people from 3 households.
Some Of The Restrictions That Have Been Removed
The rule that people have to sit at tables and wait to be served in outdoor or indoor settings will also be removed and there will be great joy among many that dancing will be once again permitted at weddings and civil partnership receptions.
When outdoors social distancing is no longer a legal requirement, but if you are indoors either in a work setting or at a restaurant or cafe etc, you should stay 1 metre apart from other people when at all possible. These changes bring Northern Ireland more into line with the policies currently in England. The restrictions will be lifted from 5pm this Friday 11th September, with the Executive meeting again this Thursday to discuss a possible further lifting of Covid measures in the near future.
Would Like To Have Seen More Progress Around Social Distancing
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, First Minister Paul Givan was delighted with the changes but hoped they could be further extended as soon as possible. He said:
“Today is progress.
“We have taken on board the health situation and the wider societal, community and economic information as well. Ultimately, I want to see more progress.
“I would have like to have seen progress around social distancing, moving that from regulation into guidance, but that is something that will now form the discussions on Thursday.
“Other jurisdictions, England and Wales and Scotland, they are lifting their restrictions or have already lifted them.
“The Republic of Ireland has now set October 22 as their final date for all restrictions to go and we are moving to that position in Northern Ireland where ultimately we can have these issues dealt with through good advice, rather than having the law and enforcement.”
Business Owners At Their Wits End
In the same article Chief executive of Hospitality Ulster Colin Neill was quoted but he was not so sure that much progress had been made, saying:
“Business owners are at their wit’s end and their anxiety is sky high. This really is an unnecessary place to be in. Is it too much to ask that we try and work our way out of this?”
“We have been pressing Executive Ministers to engage with our sector, and work in partnership with us to ensure that urgency is injected into the recovery phase,” he said.
“They might not want to hear it, but we are now on the cusp of the Christmas planning period for the sector and we do not need another disaster on our hands.
“We need a reasonable timeframe set out to guide us on how we can make the most of a vital part of the year for the whole industry.”
It is probably understandable for Mr Neil to take this stance as the hospitality sector has been hit very badly by the restrictions and any further delay could be fatal for some of the businesses in this area.
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