Antrim and Newtownabbey lockdown easing measures welcomed

Garden centres in Antrim and Newtownabbey have been welcoming the return of customers since being permitted to reopen on Monday.

The outlets had to shut with other non-essential retail outlets in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting on social media, Coleman’s Garden Centre at Templepatrick, said: “We were delighted with how our reopening progressed this morning and how customers reacted – the smiles on their faces as they perused our plant selection and garden essentials range said it all.”

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Hillside Nursery Centre in Newtownabbey  stated: “It was a great start to a new time here, and we are constantly learning new ways to improve your time at Hillside.”

Bruslee Recycling Centre.Bruslee Recycling Centre.
Bruslee Recycling Centre.

Retail NI and the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium have called for the NI Executive to bring forward a recovery plan for local town and city centres.

Retail NI Chief executive Glyn Roberts and NI Retail Consortium’s Aodhan Connolly said: “We welcome the publication of the NI Executive’s Five Stage Plan as a significant step forward for our economy and for the eventual reopening of our entire retail sector with protections for staff and shoppers.

“Both our organisations believe it is now time for the Executive to begin work on a reopening plan for our town and city centres which will ensure the right health and safety guidance for retailers, key businesses in town centres and their employees.

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“We want to see a target of early June set for the reopening of the rest of our retail sector, in line with the plan announced for England by the Prime Minister, of course predicated on the medical evidence.”

Meanwhile, householders in Antrim and Newtownabbey are reminded that it is necessary to book an appointment to access O’Neill Road Recycling Centre and must provide photographic ID as proof of residency in the borough.

However, appointments are not required for Bruslee, Craigmore or Newpark Recycling Centres. Vans and trailers are not permitted at present.

Parks and open spaces remain accessible for recreation but carparks and playgrounds at these facilities are closed.

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Subject to council approval, it is proposed to reopen golf facilities at Ballyearl in Newtownabbey and Allen Park, at Castle Road, Antrim, on May 28.

Ballyclare Golf Club says that its course will be reopening on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Northern Ireland’s four main churches have issued a joint statement to welcome the announcement of the beginning of the Northern Ireland Executive’s pathway to recovery and the reopening of churches for private prayer.

They said: “As church leaders, we appreciate the recognition in this recovery plan of the importance of the local church, and public worship, in the lives of many people.

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“We are keen to respond to the appeals from those who find great comfort in visiting their church for private prayer, from couples who are anxious that they can proceed with their marriage ceremony and from parents who wish to have their child baptised.

“In our churches, we are currently undertaking risk assessments and putting in place response plans that reflect the unique circumstances of each local context and will be sustainable in the long-term. We are very grateful for the efforts of those who are leading this work on behalf of their congregations.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter


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