Significant day as Northern Ireland takes steps out of lockdown

Northern Ireland is taking a significant step towards exiting lockdown as further restrictions are eased.

Outdoor visitor attractions, hairdressers and salons are reopening from Friday, while driving lessons can resume along with theory and practical tests.

Competitive sport will be allowed outdoors with numbers not exceeding 100 - however, spectators will not be allowed.

Meanwhile, speaking on the eve of the relaxations, First Minister Arlene Foster said the Executive will “keep looking to see if we can move faster."

But she cautioned that will depend on the impact of the current and imminent relaxations on Covid-19 transmission rates.

Further restrictions are to be lifted next week, when pubs and restaurants can serve customers in outdoors settings, in groups of six, from no more than two households.

All non-essential retail will return, and takeaways and off-licences will have curfews lifted.

Self-contained tourist accommodation, such as caravans and rented holiday homes, will be allowed to operate.

The limit on outdoor gatherings in domestic gardens will increase to 15 people from no more than three households.

More restrictions are then set to be lifted on 24 May, however these are subject to review.

From that date, it is hoped pubs and restaurant can operate indoor and people will be allowed to gather in homes.

Indoor attractions may also reopen.