Northern Ireland lockdown rules: What are the new lockdown rules in NI?

Henrietta Strickland
November 22, 2020

Schools will stay open and "close contact" services can reopen on Friday 20 November, but then they'll have to close again after one week.

The Northern Ireland Executive decided late on the day on Thursday, November 19 that the region would enter a two-week "circuit breaker" lockdown commencing on November 27.

Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland and the head of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), said: "The Executive has been presented today with the sobering prospect of our hospitals becoming overwhelmed within weeks".

Today, cafes, coffee shops, hairdressers and salons are expected to reopen, but will be forced to close again next week should lockdown be reimposed.

There were strong divisions among the Stormont executive when the measures were extended last week, as ministers struggled to agree on continuing with restrictions.

However, they will only be able to conduct transactions online once again for a fortnight as of next Friday.

Mr Swann also urged the Government to consider imposing local travel restrictions too.

"Of course that causes us concern in terms of the transmission of the virus", she said.

He said the measures were aimed at restricting the spread of Covid-19 ahead of Christmas.

"This is stricter than we've done since the first phase".

But we have been here before, and it could still take time before any final decision is reached.

"So, I can say in terms of the anger that is felt by businesses, we share the concern, we share all that concern, we understand how hard this is, how challenging this is".

A further 10 people have died in Northern Ireland after contracting covid-19 according to the Department of Health has said. Up until now, NI has been in a quasi lockdown, with restrictions on socialising and a number of non-essential businesses forced to close.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has said Northern Ireland will initially be in line for up to 4.35 million doses of vaccines when they are eventually made available.

"I think there is now a job of work that needs to be done very quickly within the Executive to make sure we can get as much support out to those businesses as soon as possible".

"I put that to the Health Minister, very bluntly, very clearly, and was told they were content that this was OK, that this was factored into the modelling which they had brought in front of us".

David Gough, owner of the Newton Brunch Bar in east Belfast, described the latest lockdown announcement as "devastating".

Financial support package to be developed over next few days.

But Dr Tom Black, chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) in NI, said easing restrictions now would see "us paying the price further down the road".

"We all need to work together to save our hospitals, to save Christmas, to save lives".

Tonight's decision at the Executive was not an easy, but there was no other choice.

"The decision that was made five weeks ago was the wrong decision, it was not severe enough at the time and it needed to be taken earlier".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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