Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Circuit-breaker restrictions extended for another week

Stormont ministers have agreed an extension of the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place in Northern Ireland, which will be followed b...

Stormont ministers have agreed an extension of the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place in Northern Ireland, which will be followed by a reopening of the close contact service sector and a partial reopening of the hospitality industry next Friday, Stormont sources have said.

t’s understood the DUP, UUP and Alliance voted for the proposals, Sinn Fein voted against while the SDLP abstained.

It means close contact services and unlicensed premises can reopen next Friday.

The rest of the hospitality sector will be permitted to open on Friday, November 27.

At a glance:

  • Close contact services, including hairdressing, beauty treatments and driving lessons, resuming on November 20 by appointment only.
  • Unlicensed premises, including cafes and coffee shops, reopening on November 20. Restricted opening hours to 8pm. No alcohol can be consumed in these premises.
  • All other sections of hospitality that have been closed during the circuit-break will open on November 27.
  • Pubs and bars permitted to sell sealed off-sales from November 20.

The fourth Executive meeting in four days started just after 4pm on Thursday afternoon, hours after it emerged that businesses had been given the wrong deadline for the end of the current circuit-break lockdown.

The Department of Health said it had received “revised legal advice” that existing regulations forcing the closure of many hospitality businesses would expire at midnight on Friday, 24 hours later than the department had previously understood.

Three proposals on the executive’s next pandemic response had been voted down during fractious exchanges within the powersharing administration, before an agreement was reached.

Earlier, the Department of Health confirmed there have been 15 further Covid-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland.

Eleven of the deaths occurred within the past 24 hours, while four went previously unreported. The death toll in the region now stands at 825.

Another 548 people have tested positive for the virus after 7,912 tests were carried out on 2,892 people in the last 24 hours.

There have now been 45,241 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the pandemic began.

Over the past week 3,835 people have tested positive for the virus, with 702 in the Belfast council area and 469 in Causeway Coast and Glens.

There are currently 435 Covid-19 inpatients in Northern Ireland’s hospitals with 46 in intensive care units.

Hospital bed occupancy currently stands at 101 per cent, while 26 intensive care unit beds remain free.

There are currently 144 active outbreaks of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland’s care homes.

Belfast Telegraph

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Newsrust: Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Circuit-breaker restrictions extended for another week
Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Circuit-breaker restrictions extended for another week
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