PUBS, RESTAURANTS, retail and personal services such as hairdressers will all be back by next month in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Executive have signed off on an optimistic roadmap out of lockdown which accelerated the reopening of the economy after a continued decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
The new roadmap was revealed to the public yesterday, and sees many industries return as early as this month.
According to the new roadmap, which was revealed to the public yesterday, Northern Ireland will experience the following lifting of restrictions on these dates:
- Hairdressers, barbers and other close contact services can reopen
- Outdoor visitor attractions such as zoos and wildlife parks can reopen
- Driving lessons, theory tests and practical tests return
- Sport and matches can return with up to 100 people, but no spectators are allowed
- Resumption of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EATL) on an indoor and outdoor basis in gatherings of up to 30 people
- Bands can practice in outdoor locations
- Up to 15 people from 3 different households can meet outdoors
- All retail resumes
- Self-contained tourist accommodation can reopen
- Restaurants, cafés and pubs can reopen for outdoor service, with a maximum of 6 people from 2 households allowed to sit together
- Curfew on takeaways and off licenses are removed
- Gyms, swimming pools and other venues can reopen for individual training- group activities in gyms and pools still off limits
24 May (Expected):
- Indoor dining and drinking at pubs and restaurants can resume with some mitigation
- Remainder of tourist accommodation, such as hostels, can return
- People can visit each other indoors
- Indoor visitor attractions can return
- Indoor group exercise and training can return with suitable numbers depending on size of venue
Announcing the new road map yesterday, First Minister Arlene Foster told the Executive it was a "landmark day" for Northern Ireland "as we step firmly and with confidence on our pathway to recovery".
Promising that the north was entering "brighter and better times", she said the roadmap would "restore those familiar aspects of everyday life that have been missed dearly".
She urged the public to continue to stick with public health measures in order to ensure the reopening goes smoothly.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Today, the light at the end of the tunnel has just got a little bit brighter.
“This is a day of positive progress. We have agreed a significant package of easements which will make a fundamental difference to people’s lives and wellbeing."
The Republic of Ireland has not given any definite dates for the lifting of lockdown and reopening of the economy, however Tánaiste Leo Varadkar yesterday said the country was "on track" to ease some restrictions in the month of May.
He told RTE's Morning Ireland that at the end of April "we will look at the plan for May".
"What we're planning is allowing more outdoor activities, a phase three reopening of retail, and of personal services."
"When asked if this would include hairdressers, Varadkar replied: "Yes, I'm not saying the 4th of May, that’s unlikely, but over the course of the month of May there'll be a phased reopening of personal services including hairdressers and barbers."
The government will also look at the plan for June and July at the end of April, the Tánaiste said.
As of now, no household visits are allowed, but two people may meet in an outdoor setting in public, such as a park.
All schoolchildren have returned to the classroom, and the public can travel anywhere in their own county, or up to 20km away from their home even if it brings them into another county.
At the end of this month, outdoor wildlife parks, zoos and sanctuaries can return.