18/03/2020

Leisure Facilities Closed Across Belfast

Leisure centres and community facilities across Belfast have been closed as measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are ramped up.

St George's Market, the Ulster Hall and the ICC Belfast are among those affected.

City Hall has closed to the public with tours suspended and the visitor exhibition also closed. The building remains open for registration of births, deaths and marriages.

Belfast Zoo, the Tropical Ravine and the Palm House at Botanic Gardens are also impacted as well as all pitches and pavilions.

The decision also affects the council owned gyms across the city, operated under the Better brand.

Council members took the decision at a special meeting on Monday 16 March.

In light of the situation, members have suspended all standing committees until such times that a majority of councillors agree that normal governance procedures should be resumed. During this time the Chief Executive will have delegated authority to make decisions in consultation with Party Group Leaders.
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Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Daniel Baker said: "We know this is a time of great concern and worry for people and that is understandable; this is a really challenging time for all of us and we are dealing with something which is unprecedented.

"I want to reassure our residents that Council is committed to helping protect public health where we can. As Elected Members it is important that we continue to remind people to follow public health guidance, take personal responsibility and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.

"I also want to assure residents that Council is working behind the scenes to ensure the delivery of essential services, such as waste collections and burials and cremations. We have emergency preparedness and business continuity planning in place for delivery of critical services during any emergency, or in the event of a major public health issue such as this."

Councillor Baker added: "We're seeing lots of acts of kindness and community spirit which is really encouraging and I would urge people to keep up that community spirit. It's so important that we look out for each other, pull together as a community and take care of our family and neighbours - especially those who are old or vulnerable."



(JG/CM)

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