Schools and pubs in Northern Ireland are due to close due...

Schools and pubs in Northern Ireland are due to close due...
Schools and pubs in Northern Ireland are due to close due...
NORTHERN IRELAND will be set for a period of tightened coronavirus restrictions after Executive Ministers approve the closure of schools, pubs and restaurants.

It is anticipated that pubs and restaurants, with the exception of food stalls, will be closed for four weeks, while schools will be closed for two weeks, one of which covers the halftime break on Halloween.

The measures do not represent a full lockdown similar to that imposed during the first wave of the virus, but the measures nonetheless mark a significant increase in the administration’s response to the rising infection rates.

It is assumed that retail stores, as well as churches and gyms, will remain open for individual training.

First Minister Arlene Foster will announce the restrictions in a special session of the assembly.

Source: Presseye / PA

The restrictions were agreed after a stop-start meeting of the Stormont executive that lasted through midnight into the early hours of the morning.

A formal announcement is expected to be made in a special session of the Assembly in Belfast today.

It is expected that most sporting activities will be limited to top athletes for the four weeks.

The current restrictions on domestic mixing are expected to remain unchanged.

This would not mean mixing of households in private houses, with the exception of those who have banded together in social bubbles, and gatherings in the gardens of private houses limited to six people from no more than two households.

The hotel business closure is expected to go into effect on Friday October 16. The other measures will be implemented from Monday October 19th.

After the late executive meeting concluded, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill tweeted:

“The Exec has carefully considered the next steps.

“We know it is difficult to do and that people will be worried about their livelihoods, but we will do everything we can to ensure that there are safeguards in place for businesses, workers and families.”

Prior to this, First Minister Arlene Foster had praised during a break from the sometimes tense discussions that she would support companies and individuals affected by new measures.

The DUP leader, who will make the announcement in the gathering, insisted that “closing the country” was not an option.

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“For those affected by the restrictions we have agreed upon, we are at your side and help and support you financially as best we can,” she said.

Foster said it was “critical” that “long-term” school closings be avoided.

Another seven deaths from Covid-19 and another 863 cases were reported by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

6,286 new positive cases of the virus have been detected in the past seven days, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 21,898.

As of Tuesday there were 150 patients in hospitals with Covid-19, 23 of them in intensive care.

In the Derry and Strabane Council region, the rate of infection is highest in the UK and Ireland, with a 7-day average of 970 cases per 100,000 people.

The area is already subject to additional local restrictions.

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