Date confirmed for reopening of pubs, restaurants and hotels as NI takes stride out of lockdown

Pubs, restaurants and hotels are to open in Northern Ireland at the start of July in a major stride out of lockdown.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15th June 2020, 4:33 pm
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 11/6/2020: Although Belfast International Airport  is set to re-open on Monday cafes, bars and shops will remain closed as part of the Coronavirus restrictions ahead of the re-opening on Monday morning.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 11/6/2020: Although Belfast International Airport is set to re-open on Monday cafes, bars and shops will remain closed as part of the Coronavirus restrictions ahead of the re-opening on Monday morning. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Ministers in the Stormont Executive agreed to the move at a meeting on Monday.

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

A week later, 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 as restaurants and offer substantial meals.

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

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.

Northern Ireland again recorded no further coronavirus deaths on Monday, the sixth occasion in the last 10 days.

The Covid-19 death total recorded by the Department of Health in the region remains at 541.

Stormont Economy minister Diane Dodds 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.

“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.

“So good news for the sector in general.”

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

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

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

Lisa Steele, General Manager of the five star Culloden Estate and Spa on the outskirts of Belfast, said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement and look forward to welcoming guests back from Friday 3rd July.

“We’ve been working hard to prepare our magnificent property for reopening and are excited that guests will soon be able to enjoy the 5-star experience we at Hastings Hotels are renowned for.”

A relaxation that allowed people living on their own to interact with one other household in a “social bubble” came into effect in the region on Saturday.

The move saw grandparents reunited with grandchildren after a three-month lockdown absence.

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

All non-essential retail outlets were permitted to reopen on Friday.

Some major chains in Belfast city centre, such as Zara and Apple, waited until Monday to welcome customers back.

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