NI pubs, restaurants and hotels to reopen on 3 July

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to bring forward the reopening of pubs, restaurants and hotels to 3 July.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds made the announcement after the Executive met on Monday to discuss fast-tracking hospitality sector reopening.

She said the indicative dates were "depending on the transmission of the virus and making sure that we put public health and safety and lives ahead of everything else".

From Friday 26 June, caravan parks, camp sites and self-contained touristaccommodation will be able to reopen.

A week later on Friday 3 July , hotels, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, pubs and bars will be able to welcome customers back.

Pubs and bars opening on that date will have to primarily function asrestaurants and offer substantial meals.

Hotel leisure and spa facilities will have to remain closed on 3 July.

  • 26 June

  • Caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation

  • 3 July

  • Other tourist accommodation

  • Additional sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry including restaurants, cafes and coffee shops

  • Public houses and bars selling food and alcohol on a table service basis

  • Public houses and bars with outside spaces, such as beer gardens, will be able to use these spaces to serve alcohol on a table service basis

  • Relaxations also apply to hotel restaurants, bars and outdoor areas

  • Spas and leisure facilities at hotels not permitted to open at this stage

  • Visitor attractions can open

The dates are conditional on controlling the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and social distancing measures will remain in place.

No decision has been made by the Executive on whether to reduce the social distancing measure in Northern Ireland from two metres to one - a move the hospitality sector has been demanding.

Ministers are giving consideration to reviewing the measure.

It's a good day for tourism and hospitality in particular, a sector that has been incredibly hard hit by the lockdown after the pandemic.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds

Minister Dodds said the made the announcement about the hospitality sector on a visit to a Belfast restaurant.

"This is a good day for the Northern Ireland economy," she said.

Earlier, First Minister Arlene Foster said the successful suppression ofCovid-19 in the region had enabled the fast-tracking of the reopening of thehospitality sector.

Only hotels had previously had an indicative opening date - July 20 - withother hospitality outlets having been unclear when they could potentially start trading again.

The proposals to allow hospitality businesses to open on July 3, and caravanparks a week earlier, were contained in a paper tabled before the Executive by Mrs Dodds.

  • WATCH: Deputy Political Editor Tracey Magee on the latest announcements from the Northern Ireland Executive.

Over the weekend, coronavirus lockdown easements means people living on their own were allowed to create a social “bubble” with one other household.

That led to, for example, grandparents reuniting with grandchildren after a long three months.

On Monday, passenger flights have resumed at Belfast International Airport and the housing market has also restarted, with estate agents able to show properties to prospective buyers once again.

However, easements to lockdown remain dependent on the spread of Covid-19 remaining contained amid concerns around a potential second wave.

The official Department of Health figures show that there have been 541 coronavirus-related deaths across Northern Ireland – the exact figure is expected to be significantly higher when deaths in all community settings are accounted for.

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