Ministers due to discuss coronavirus fine rises and mask-wearing extensions

A hike in coronavirus fines and extending the places where face coverings are mandatory will be considered by Stormont ministers later.

Justice minister Naomi Long is due to present the outcome of a rapid review into penalties and enforcement of the Covid-19 regulations at Thursday afternoon’s executive meeting.

It is understood a proposal to increase the fine that accompanies a fixed-penalty notice for a rule breach from £60 to £200.

The Executive Office is also due to present proposals around extending the public settings where face coverings should be mandatory.

If agreed, this would see the law widened to cover places such as office spaces, banks and building societies.

Coverings are already mandatory in shops and on public transport.

The meeting at Stormont comes as Northern Ireland continues to experience rocketing coronavirus infection rates.

The Derry City and Strabane Council area, which has one of the highest infection rates in the UK, is currently subject to additional restrictions.

While ministers are due to discuss the potential extension of restrictions to other council areas with high rates, such as Newry, Mourne and Down council, they are not anticipated to make final decisions on Thursday.