Coronavirus NI: Premier, Deputy Premier Reveal Restriction Plans Before Christmas

First and Deputy Prime Ministers Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill have said no Covid-19 restrictions are due to be announced in Northern Ireland before Christmas.

The executive discussed throughout Thursday which rules will end and which will not.

Speaking to the media from Stormont this evening, the executive ministers said:

  • Hotels and hospitality (except wet bars) may reopen on December 11
  • 11 p.m. curfew will be in place for hospitality
  • Close contact services may resume
  • Non-essential retail may reopen
  • Religious services can resume
  • The wedding and funeral can resume – with a risk assessment based on the size of the venue.
  • Bubbles of up to three households at Christmas to move forward – with “bubbling houses” already counted as one in three.
  • Outside of the period from December 23 to 27, no household mixing except for bubbles.

Prime Minister Arlene Foster told the BBC: “We were determined today to consider what will happen next Friday.

Prime Minister Arlene Foster pictured during a press conference in the Parliament Buildings in Stormont this afternoon.
(Image: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye)

“Hospitality will reopen with the exception of what is now known as wet bars and we will be rolling out advice in conjunction with the industry. ”

Ms Foster said there will be compensation for the wet bars as part of the announced £ 10.6million “in recognition of the fact that they have been closed most of the year since March”.

She added that churches may reopen next Friday and they too will receive counseling.

But she said the changes came with a certain degree of personal responsibility.

“There will be no more restrictions before Christmas,” she said.

“We of course welcome the vaccine and we are also considering mass testing to reduce transmission of the virus. We try to make sure that you have a good Christmas and that you can get together safely. ”

Deputy Premier Michelle O’Neill said: “Non-essential retail will reopen, as will contact services, as well as gyms for personal training and one-on-one training.

She said they were aware of the impact of stopping exercise on mental health.

But she said lifting the restrictions “carries a risk.”

“We ask people to be very careful as Christmas approaches. ”

She said the lifting of the restrictions had obtained the collective blessing of the executive, as well as the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser.

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill pictured at a press conference in the Parliament Buildings on Thursday
(Image: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.)

“We are aware of the implications this has had on everyone’s life over the past 10 months,” she added.

“We can see some light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine, however, as we speak we are still in the midst of a pandemic. ”

Regarding three households that mix at Christmas, Ms. O’Neill added that “today we can confirm that one of these households can be a bubble”.

“Again, this will come with a certain degree of risk, so we need people to be very careful. Please don’t get together in large groups if you can avoid it. ”

Arlene Foster told UTV weddings will revert to limitless pre-foreclosure arrangements for guests, but that a risk assessment will need to be done “in terms of the size of the church venues.”

No changes in domestic arrangements have been announced, with Minister Foster saying rules prohibiting mixing of households remain.

“There shouldn’t be any household mixing in the household,” she said.

She added that people can meet outside and “walk around together,” but indoors no mixing is allowed outside of the five days (December 23-27) when three households will be allowed to stay. gather for Christmas – or in connection with domestic bubbles.

This is the full list of rules agreed by the Northern Ireland executive last Thursday night, when a near-complete lockdown was announced but schools said they would remain open.

Churches, gyms, recreation centers and all non-essential retail and close contact services were closed for two weeks, from 12:01 p.m. Nov. 27 to Dec. 11.

The restrictions remain in effect until midnight next Thursday.

Full list of restrictions:

  • Closure of all businesses except essential stores
  • Closure of close contact services such as driving instruction (no motorcycles) except for television production and auxiliary medical and social health services
  • Closure of all hospitality, with the exception of accommodation during essential travel.
  • Food in motorway services, airports and terminals is exempt and take-out will be allowed
  • Off licenses open with closing at 8 p.m.
  • Closure of recreation and entertainment (including all soft play areas, gymnasiums and swimming pools, etc.)
  • Sporting events are only allowed for elite sports. Individual / domestic outdoor exercise and PE at school to continue.
  • Elite sports events behind closed doors with spectators
  • No household gatherings other than support bubbles under the current exceptions for care, maintenance and moving
  • Closed for churches except for weddings and funerals. Max 25 for weddings and funerals.
  • Strong message for staying home, working from home, essential purposes, education and essential exercise.
  • Schools remain open
  • Uni / FE Universities – distance except for most
  • Public parks and outdoor play areas remain open

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