New easements for lockdown in Northern Ireland

A series of lockdown easements will apply across Northern Ireland from Monday.

They include allowing those who are shielding to spend time outside with a person from another household, with social distancing observed.

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies may take place outdoors with no more than 10 people in attendance, while the needs or welfare of animals can be tended to.

Coronavirus – Fri Jun 5, 2020
Michael McCaw and Lucrecia Landeta Garcia following their wedding ceremony at City Hall in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

The reopening of outdoor sports facilities, as well as outdoor retailers such as car showrooms and agricultural machinery, are also allowed from Monday.

Meanwhile, dental surgeries are permitted to open for face-to-face urgent dental care in the first part of a three-stage reopening process.

The easements are more conservative than those in the Republic of Ireland, where from Monday a wider variety of retail shops can open.

The Northern Ireland Executive is set to meet later on Monday to discuss its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts has urged ministers to set a date for the remaining retail shops to reopen.

“With the Irish Government setting out a road map for its retail sector to reopen, the Executive must now also set a date, otherwise many local towns and retailers along the border will be at a major competitive disadvantage,” he said.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill told RTE on Sunday that she noted the Irish plan “with interest”.

“We have an inbuilt flexibility to respond to the conditions on any given day, and I am hopeful that at our Executive meeting tomorrow, we will able to make more progress for our retail sector,” she said.

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