Executive to allow shops and part of hospitality sector to reopen next week but pubs not serving food must remain closed

The Northern Ireland Executive is reported to be close to reaching an agreement on what restrictions must remain in place when the current extension to the ‘circuit breaker’ runs out on December 11.

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 6:21 pm

It is believed the Executive will allow shops and part of the hospitality sector to reopen but bars not selling food must remain closed.

Close contact services such as hairdressers and nail salons will be permitted to reopen but by appointment only.

Gyms will be told they too can reopen but only for private training and not for classes.

Shops and parts of the hospitality sector might be able to reopen from December 11.

It is believed that the Executive could officially announce the details of the new plan later this evening.

The news comes only hours after a world renowned public health expert told the Stormont health committee that, due to the relaxation of restrictions over Christmas, she thinks Northern Ireland will be in lockdown in January or February again.

“I am very worried in the UK about the lifting of all the travel restrictions over that five day Christmas period,” Professor of Global Public Health Devi Sridhar told the committee.

“I know the tier system is not being used in Northern Ireland but it is a concern because there was that four nation agreement on the lifting of travel restrictions - I would say it’s something that should be on your radar because I think it will come as a massive shock to the system over the Christmas period,” she said.