NI Executive Daily Update: Initiatives to deal with Coronavirus (27 May 2020).
Northern Ireland Executive ministers and their officials have over the past 24 hours been involved in a number of initiatives and critical decisions relating to the Coronavirus emergency.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon today confirmed plans to roll out active travel initiatives promoting cycling and walking in towns and cities as Covid-19 restrictions are gradually lifted.
Minister Mallon told the daily Executive press conference pilot schemes will be introduced in Newry and Derry~Londonderry – after one initiative got under way in Belfast.
The Minister said: “Pilots have already hit the ground running in Belfast and will soon be rolled out in Newry and Derry. These will include pop up cycle lanes, pedestrianisation and quiet streets that make our places safer, greener and cleaner, promoting healthier, happier communities open for business and investment.”
Earlier this month, the Minister announced plans to pedestrianise streets in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and to extend the waterfront in Derry~Londonderry.
Work also began to temporarily widen the pavement in Belfast’s Linen Quarter to facilitate social distancing and prepare for the increased use of the city’s streets as lockdown restrictions are gradually relaxed.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey confirmed the majority of State Care Monuments will reopen to the public from tomorrow (Thursday 28 July 2020).
Most of the 190 sites in the care of the Department’s Historic Environment Division will be open for access.
However, facilities including toilets, visitors’ centres, cafes and shops will remain closed in line with public health requirements.
Minister Hargey said: “I recognise how hard the restrictions have been and the impact that has had on people’s physical and mental health. However, it would be remiss of me not to remind the public that we have not yet emerged from the Covid-19 crisis.
“It is vital that people continue to socially distance, wash their hands and not become complacent as restrictions begin to be lift. Please enjoy these beautiful spaces, take care of them and dispose of your litter carefully or take it home with you.”
Sites which have significant amounts of indoor space or present particular safety or public health concerns will also remain closed including Carrickfergus Castle, Dunluce Castle, Devenish Island, Scrabo Tower, Dundrum Castle and Grey Abbey.
Household rates bills are being issued this week by the Land & Property Services, the Department of Finance confirmed.
To help households during Covid-19, the issuing of domestic rate bills was deferred and the Executive agreed to freeze the element of the rate bill which it sets.
The bill will set out the amount due for 2020/21, details of any rate relief which applies to your account and any debt from previous years that has not been paid.
There are a number of ways to pay the rate bill:
- Domestic ratepayers can receive 4% discount if they pay their bill in full on or before 3 July 2020.
- Direct Debit is the easiest and most convenient way to pay and allows ratepayers to spread the cost over 10 instalments from June 2020 to March 2021. Set up a Direct Debit online.
- Pay online by debit or credit card
- Pay at any Post Office or PayPoint.
If you think the information on your bill is incorrect or if you have not received a bill please contact Land & Property Services. Anyone having difficulty paying their bill should contact the Land and Property Services on 0300 200 7801 or by email at: email@example.com for advice on payment arrangements and the range of support available.