All non-essential shops in Northern Ireland can re-open from Friday 12 June, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said.
The minister added that the step forward was subject to retailers adhering to all necessary safety measures and to no increase in the spread of coronavirus.
However, the reopening does not apply to shops inside shopping centres – although essential goods providers such as chemists and supermarkets have been allowed to stay open at such locations.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the local economy,” Mrs Dodds said.
“The recovery has already begun and it is time now for the pace to accelerate. The re-opening of all goods retail outlets will be a huge part of this.”
She added: “The safety of staff and customers is of course paramount.
“All retailers must be able to implement measures that minimise the risk to their staff and to the people who visit their stores.
“We will be co-existing with this virus for some time to come, so it is vital that we continue to adhere to guidance to work and live safely.”
It comes after the Republic of Ireland took a major step along the path out of lockdown, reopening all shops on Monday - albeit with staggered opening hours.
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