Coronavirus: Reaction to Latest NI Covid-19 Restrictions

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

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Schools are due to close for two weeks and restaurants will be restricted to take-out only under measures to be announced by the Northern Ireland executive on Wednesday.

Ministers met on Tuesday evening to discuss plans to fight Covid-19.
It comes amid warnings that a surge in cases could put hospitals under extreme pressure.

  • Schools must close and tighten new hospitality rules

But there are concerns about the impact of the stricter restrictions on education, the economy and other health services.

Prime Minister Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster at coronavirus briefing on May 1image copyrightPacemaker
The prime minister said the executive would provide financial support to those affected by the latest measures “as best we can”.
In a social media post Tuesday evening during an executive adjournment, she said it was “critical” that schools not face a “long-term” shutdown.
The DUP leader said it would affect the chances of young people in life.
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Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill

Michelle o'neill
Sinn Fein vice-president said the executive would “do everything in its power to ensure that protections are in place”.
She said it would be for “businesses, workers and families”.
Ms O’Neill added that ministers had “carefully considered” the new restrictions.
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Colin Neill, Managing Director of Hospitality Ulster

Colin Neill
“Now is the end of the game for many in the hospitality industry,” Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster told BBC News NI.
“We understand that it’s obvious that health comes first, but I think it’s fair to say that the hospitality industry has done more than any other industry to step up measures.
“We have a health crisis, we accept that, but we also now have a hospitality crisis,” he continued.
“What will happen in four weeks if the rate [of infection] did not come down? ”
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Michael Allen, director du Lisneal College

Londonderry school principal Michael Allen said he was “deflated” by the news that schools would have to close for two weeks.
He said BBC Radio Foyle schools had worked hard to ensure safety measures were in place for students and staff.
“One thing we can do when they are in school is to ensure that young people socially distance themselves, disinfect their hands and cover their faces.
“One of my main concerns is that when the students go out during those two weeks, the same level of assurance that all protocols will be followed is no longer there. ”
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Gerard Keenan, owner of Dan’s Bar in West Belfast

“To be honest, I think we’re done,” Dan’s Bar owner Gerard Keenan told BBC News NI.
“In a few weeks or so, if that hasn’t changed, I think we don’t have a choice, we’ll have to sell our bar, I don’t really want to do that anymore. ”
Mr Keenan said his business had been praised by Belfast City Council and police who had inspected security measures introduced since the pubs were allowed to reopen.
“I thought we were doing a great job in our pub,” he said, adding that the last bars had “cut our feet under us”.
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Claire Hanna, SDLP MP

SDLP MP Claire Hanna said her party colleague and Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon had made it clear that “serious intervention to deal with the surging number” of coronavirus cases at NI was needed.
Ms Hanna said “the devil will be in the details” and the public needs clear instructions on how the restrictions will affect their lives.
“What does it mean to me if I am a hairdresser, what does it mean to me if I am a parent, what does it mean to me if I need child care?” children, ”she cited as questions people will ask.
“We all hope that is enough. ”
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Selina Horshi, General Manager of the White Horse Hotel in Campsie

Londonderry County hotel owner Selina Horshie said her business had to borrow to pay its bills “month after month” during the initial lockdown and feared the latest measures would hit the industry hard.
With the Derry and Strabane District Council area facing tougher measures in recent weeks, including on travel advice, she said occupancy levels were dropping and her business was running low on numerous financial support programs.
“We really need to know exactly what the rules are because we always have to do things incredibly fast,” she told Good Morning Ulster.
“We need communication on exactly which parts of the industry will be helped and which will not.
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Kelvin Collins, owner of Ben Madigan’s Bar & Kitchen in Belfast

North Belfast pub owner Kelvin Collins said it was “critical moment number two” for his business.
“It’s a difficult time for everyone,” he explained, adding that he had voluntarily closed before the first lockout “because we were worried about customers”.
Mr Collins said he had “no choice but to try” to survive the latest measures that have put “blood, sweat and tears” in the development of the company.
“We come to Christmas, it’s normally a time of year where we build reserves for January, February and March of next year, there are a lot of businesses that are closing now that might not reopen. ”
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Gavan McAlinden, Royal College of Surgeons

Orthopedic surgeon Gavan McAlinden has said that if the latest measures limit the spread of Covid-19, it will mean fewer health workers will have to take time off work.
He said people need to remember they can spread the virus to people working on the front lines.
“It could be me, it could be a nurse, it could be an anesthesiologist who they pass Covid to and we hear the effect on staff and that groups of staff have to stay out of the workplace and are not available, ”he described.
Mr McAlinden said he placed “his faith and trust” in the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser.
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Michael Deane, restaurateur and chef

The owner of the Belfast restaurant, Michael Deane, said his industry was “treated like criminals” and became a “scapegoat for everyone”.
“We have not seen the data that it is spreading in restaurants,” he said, adding that “consumer confidence is already there.”
However, the businessman said he believed “a full lockdown is needed” to change behavior and argued that the measures should not be “timid”.
“The children will end up at street corners, the students will still go at eight o’clock without a permit, then they will order take out in local restaurants,” he continued.
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