The Executive has confirmed a number of coronavirus lockdown-easing measures in Northern Ireland.

The relaxations were agreed after ministers were updated on the Covid-19 transmission rate by medical and scientific advisers.

The Health Department said the R rate is estimated as being between 0.7 and 0.9, enabling the lifting of restrictions.

Changes coming into effect from 8 June will include allowing people who are shielding to spend time outside, and allowing outdoor marriages and civil partnership ceremonies with the number of people attending limited to 10.

Outdoor sports facilities will be able to open, alongside car retailers and other businesses which operate outdoors.

A further one coronavirus-related death has been recorded by the Health Department, bringing the total to 535.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “We have only been able to make these relaxations because the public have followed the advice and flattened the curve of infection, protected the health service and saved many lives.

"It is important that we all stick the course now, so that further relaxations can be made in the future.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "Last week the R number was at 0.9.

"We said we would move forward to further ease the restrictions providing the R rate did not rise above that position and today we had positive news.

"This has allowed us to make good on our intention to introduce further relaxations from the beginning of next week."

On Monday, the Executive also announced plans to allow hotels and other tourist accommodation to re-open from 20 July.

However it said this will only be possible if virus transmissions rates continue to decline and a final decision can only be made nearer the time.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "We are acutely aware of the harmful effects of the restrictions being in place, not least the impact on people’s mental health and well-being.

"The Executive is united in its commitment not to keep the restrictions in place any longer than is necessary.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to confirm some further relaxations to the restrictions today.

"However, we must remember that the Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations were introduced to save lives and that remains our top priority as we move through each step of recovery.”

The full list of measures being introduced from 8 June states:

  • Those who are shielding will be able to spend time outside with people from their own household or a person from another household whilst ensuring social distancing is observed;

  • People will be permitted to leave home to attend to the needs or welfare of an animal or animals;

  • Outdoor marriages and civil partnership ceremonies will be allowed, with number of people attending limited to 10;

  • Outdoor sports facilities will be permitted to re-open;

  • The conduct of business by outdoor non-food retailers will be permitted, including new and used car retailers; retailers of light motor vehicles, lorries/trailers; retailers of caravans or motorhomes, and retailers of agricultural or other large machinery; and

  • The conduct of business by non-food retail outlets with lower frequency customer visits and/or with a greater propensity for larger store areas will be permitted. But only where those outlets have direct street access or direct access within a retail park.

The Executive has also announced the extension of the definition of ‘key workers’ in order to provide access to childcare.

It will be brought into line with the definition used for schools, meaning more key workers who are parents can access childcare.

Previously only families who work in health and other emergency services have been able to access childcare.

The changes take effect from 8 June.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “As demand for childcare grows, we are determined to ensure that measures are in place to support all our people who are working tirelessly at the front line of this current crisis.

"Today’s announcement will enable a greater number of key workers who are parents to access childcare if they need it to be able to go to work.”