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Reopening date ‘good news' for Northern Ireland hospitality businesses

16 June 2020 by
Reopening date ‘good news' for Northern Ireland hospitality businesses

Hotels, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés in Northern Ireland will be able to reopen from 3 July.

A tentative date of 20 July for hotels had previously been announced, which some groups had lobbied to bring forward due to restaurants being able to open earlier, arguing for a co-ordinated and unified approach across the sector.

Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) chief executive Janice Gault welcomed the announcement and said she was "encouraged by the recognition of the role that tourism and hospitality have to play in restoring the local economy". She said that it was "good news", giving the tourism sector an opportunity to trade over the summer season.

Caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation can reopen on 26 June, while restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and hotels will be able to reopen from 3 July.

Pubs and bars will be permitted to sell food and alcohol on a table service basis, and alcohol service in beer gardens will be table service only. These relaxations also apply to hotel restaurants, bars and outdoor areas, but spas and leisure facilities at hotels will not be permitted to open at this stage.

The dates are conditional on controlling the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and social distancing measures will remain in place. The executive has also agreed to review the two-metre social distancing guidance.

Economy minister Diane Dodds said: "Providing clarity in respect of reopening dates does not mean that businesses must open on these dates, this will be a matter for individual businesses to decide.

"Some will require longer than others to prepare for re-opening. However, setting the dates is an important step on the road to recovery and in enabling the tourism and hospitality industry to plan ahead."

She added that she would bring further proposals to the executive in the coming weeks regarding the reopening of bars whose primary focus is the sale of alcohol and to provide clarity to the events sector.

Photo: Shutterstock

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