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Northern Ireland: Pubs and restaurants shut doors for four weeks as new Covid-19 restrictions kick in

From Monday, schools in the North will close for two weeks until 2 November.

Image: Shutterstock/princeztl

Updated Oct 16th 2020, 7:35 PM

PUBS AND RESTAURANTS have shut their doors in Northern Ireland this evening as new Covid-19 restrictions kick in. 

Under measures that came into effect at 6pm, all pubs and restaurants must close for four weeks, with the exception of take aways and deliveries. 

The raft of new restrictions were agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive on Wednesday in a bid to curb an alarming surge in cases in recent weeks. 

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland this afternoon announced there have been a further 1,299 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the past 24 hours. A further two deaths have also been reported. 

This evening, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill spoke with Taoiseach Micheál Martin and discussed the situation across the island.

“This virus doesn’t recognise borders and there must be determined efforts to maximise North South co-operation and common action in the time ahead,” she said on Twitter.

Last night, First Minister Arlene Foster said she respectfully disagrees with a leading medical body’s assessment that new restrictions for Northern Ireland are “too little, too late”. 

Arlene Foster was responding to a claim from the British Medical Association NI that only a full lockdown could have prevented the health service falling off a Covid cliff edge.

She said: “I say that because not only do I have to look at the health outcomes in these issues, but of course the economic outcomes, the societal outcomes, the education of our young people… and therefore I think that what we came forward with was an action plan which has been blended to try and deal with all of those issues, not for one minute taking away from the huge challenge that lies in front of us all in relation to Covid-19.”

Other restrictions

From Monday, schools will close for two weeks until 2 November, with one of these weeks covering the half-term Halloween break.

Universities are advised to deliver distance learning with only essential face-to-face learning.

Off licences and supermarkets will not be permitted to sell alcohol after 8pm.

Retail will stay open and gyms will also remain open but for individual training only. No indoor sport or organised contact sport involving household mixing will be allowed other than at elite level.

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Wedding ceremonies and funerals will be limited to 25 people with no receptions or gatherings afterwards. 

Current restrictions on mixing of households remain in place, which means household are no longer allowed to mix indoors in private homes. No more than six people from two households can meet in a private garden.

Forming a ‘bubble’ is still allowed – this means a household can have close contact with one other household. This should now be limited to 10 people in total.

There are also exemptions to the private household restrictions for childcare, which will remain in place.

With reporting by Sean Murray and Press Association

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