16/04/2021

NI Executive Agrees To Ease Number Of Lockdown Restrictions

The NI Executive have agreed to ease a number of lockdown restrictions.

Speaking in the Assembly, First Minister Arlene Foster said: "We have looked at the different risks and different settings. We have received advice from our Chief Medical Officer and remain grateful to them as ever.

"Our decisions today are aimed at lifting restrictions where we can. We know it will be disappointing to some. We remain driven by data and not dates. Steps will be kept under review."

The changes that have been agreed include:

From 23 April:

• Resumption of driving instruction and theory tests

• Driving testing can resume

• Re-opening of close contact services including training

• Re-opening of outdoor visitor attractions including outdoor activity centres

• Resumption of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EATL) on an indoor and outdoor basis in gatherings of up to 30 people

• Outdoor sport organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated will be extended to include squad training

• Competitive outdoor sport organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated, with participant numbers not exceeding 100 and no spectators permitted can return and

• Static band practice/rehearsal will be permitted in agreed outdoor locations.

From 30 April:
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• Increase the numbers permitted to gather in Domestic Setting Outdoors – to 15 people from no more than 3 households

• Reopen all of retail

• Reopen and permit overnight stays in self-contained tourist accommodation for one household only

• Reopen unlicensed premises, outdoors only with a maximum of 6 people from 2 households per table and contact details recorded;

• Reopen licensed premises, including social clubs, outdoors only, limited to 6 people from no more than 2 households and contact details recorded

• Remove the curfew on takeaways

• Remove the curfew on off licences

• Permit individual activities in gyms, swimming pools and other large venues – including with a carer and to allow 1-2-1 training/coaching with social distancing.

Mrs Foster said: "This is a landmark day for Northern Ireland as we step firmly and with confidence on our pathway to recovery.

"I am pleased and proud that through our collective efforts we have reached a point where we have established a good level of control over the virus.

"We are now entering brighter and better times.

"This balanced package of relaxations will restore those familiar aspects of everyday life that have been missed dearly.

"I urge everyone to stay with us and keep following the health advice so that we can continue with our plans to more fully open up our society over coming weeks."

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