NI Ministers Explain Latest Covid Decisions To NI Assembly

Statement on Executive decisions on 12 November 2020 but booze is still off the menu in pubs.

Statement on Executive decisions on 12 November 2020 but booze is still off the menu in pubs.

The First Minister and deputy First Minister have written to the Assembly outlining decisions taken by the Executive on the Covid-19 response.

The statement said: “We are writing to provide Members with an update on today’s decisions taken by the Executive to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Executive has agreed the following:

  • Close contact services including driving instructors will reopen by appointment on 20 November;
  • Hospitality will reopen on a graduated basis, with unlicensed premises such as cafes and coffee shops opening on 20 November, with restricted opening hours to 8.00pm. This will not include the purchase or consumption of alcohol on such premises;
  • Support will be provided for mitigations to reduce risk within the hospitality sector, including improved ventilation and requirements for the recording of customer information for contact tracing purposes;
  • Pubs and bars will be permitted to sell sealed off sales on 20 November;
  • The remaining restrictions, which came into being on 16 October, would be extended and come to an end at midnight on 26 November, leaving all elements of hospitality including hotels able to open on 27 November;
  • A vaccination programme will be rolled out from as early as possible in December in line with England, initially targeting priority groups such as health care staff, care homes and those with underlying vulnerabilities;
  • Ongoing preparation for introduction of rapid testing at the earliest opportunity;
  • Additional financial support for affected businesses; and
  • A strengthened adherence/compliance working group, which will work to assist and to mitigate risk in the opening up of the hospitality businesses.

This week Ministers had failed to reach an agreement about a strategy for re-opening some businesses and the DUP and Sinn Féin and on the deadline to lifting the closure of some hospitality business, a letter was issued to Assembly members to explain progress to date.