LiveLIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus - NI pubs and restaurants must not entice ROI customers into NI says Robin Swann - Restrictions easing on Friday, here's what will happen

Businesses Northern Ireland's hospitality sector must not encourage customers living in the Republic of Ireland to travel into Northern Ireland when outdoor dining and consumption of alcohol reopens here on Friday.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 2:19 pm

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Minister Swann made the comments during a plenary session of the Assembly on Monday afternoon.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus NI - Businesses in NI should not encourage customers in ROI to cross border says Health Minister

Last updated: Monday, 26 April, 2021, 13:12

  • Businesses in NI should not encourage customers in ROI to cross border says Health Minister
  • Lockdown should be ended immediately – cancer doctor
  • 35-39 year-olds can now book their Covid-19 vaccine
  • More restrictions will be eased on Friday

Businesses in NI should not encourage customers in ROI to cross border says Health Minister

Health Minister, Robin Swann, has expressed concern about the potential risk Republic of Ireland residents entering Northern Ireland could have on its recovery from Covid-19.

Minister Swann was responding to questions from MLAs on the recent meeting of the British-Irish Council.

Ulster Unionist MLA, Alan Chambers, asked Minister Swann was concerned about the threat posed by the difference in how vaccines have been administered between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was something that he was concerned about.

“The Republic of Ireland’s travel recommendations are very clear - people should travel outside their county and that includes Northern Ireland.

“But I think there is also an onus on not just the PSNI and Garda but on the hospitality industry not to be actively promoting or seeking cross border trade at this minute in time, especially when there is such a disparity in vaccination rates on both sides of the border.”

Covid-19 vaccination programme fully opens for 35-39 year olds

The vaccine programme in Northern Ireland is now fully open for those aged 35 to 39.

Following last week’s announcement that 35-39 year olds could avail of some limited availability to book a vaccine, the programme will now fully open to this age group.

Anyone born between 01/04/81 and 30/04/86 can book an appointment at a regional vaccination centre or participating community pharmacy.

If possible, booking for the vaccination centres should be done online at: covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated

However, where online booking is not possible, the telephone booking number is 0300 200 7813.

Details of participating pharmacies and how to book are online at: covid-19.hscni.net/community-pharmacy-covid-19-vaccination-service/

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I can announce formally that from tomorrow we will fully open up the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland for all those aged over 35. I know this will be welcome news for those in this age group and I would urge people to book a vaccination appointment as soon as possible.

“This week we will see further easing of restrictions with the re-opening of non-essential retail, gyms, leisure facilities and some tourist accommodation. These easements have only been possible because of the success of the vaccination programme, coupled with the actions of the general public. Therefore I would appeal to everyone who is eligible for vaccination to get an appointment booked. I know there are some younger people that think they don’t need the vaccine but we have seen what this virus can do. So please protect yourself and get the vaccine.

“Vaccination is absolutely vital in helping us move through this pandemic. There is no doubt that there are people in Northern Ireland alive today because they have been vaccinated.”

People making bookings are asked to be patient, as demand for appointments is expected to be strong.

The ongoing roll-out of the vaccination programme will continue to be dependent on the availability of vaccine supplies.

Pints, gyms and caravans - these are just some of the changes you will see all over Northern Ireland on Friday

People all over Northern Ireland will be able to enjoy a pint of beer outside, go to the gym and spend a weekend in their mobile homes by the seaside when some Covid-19 restrictions are eased on Friday April 30.

Here’s a look at what we will be able to do:

Gardens

From 30 April, up to 15 people (including children) from no more than three households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing.

Overnight stays

From April 30, you can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation with your household or bubble.

You must not stay overnight with anyone not in your household or bubble, unless a legal exemption applies.

Accommodation and Outdoor Hospitality

From April 30, overnight stays are permitted in self-contained tourism accommodation (such as self-catering houses, caravans and motor homes). This is accommodation with no shared facilities, which can be exclusively used by a single household/ bubble.

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in members’ clubs) can reopen.

A maximum of six people from two households can be seated together. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household.

Apart from entering and leaving the premises, the only movement allowed indoors is to access toilet facilities, to select food from a buffet or to pay - however, social distancing must be maintained.

Venues will also be required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme.

Customer details will include the:

  • name and telephone number of each visitor over the age of 16
  • date and time of arrival

Retail

All shops can reopen and off-licences will be permitted to sell alcohol after 8.00 pm.

Exercising sports

From April 30, gyms, swimming pools and indoor leisure facilities may open for individual exercise and also one-to-one training/ coaching with social distancing.

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