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Northern Ireland hospitality to reopen gradually as lockdown restrictions extended

13 November 2020 by
Northern Ireland hospitality to reopen gradually as lockdown restrictions extended

The Northern Ireland Executive has announced that the hospitality sector will reopen on a graduated basis, as current lockdown restrictions are extended.

Unlicensed premises such as cafés will be permitted to reopen on 20 November with an 8pm curfew, and pubs and bars will be permitted to sell sealed-off sales.

The remaining restrictions will end at midnight on 26 November, leaving all elements of hospitality, including hotels, able to open on 27 November.

It was also confirmed that additional financial support for affected businesses, including support for mitigations such as improved ventilation and contract tracing, would be provided.

The restrictions were due to end at midnight last night following a four-week lockdown, but the government could not come to an agreement on the terms of the reopening.

By Tuesday, trade body Hospitality Ulster said it was too late for businesses to be able to reopen this weekend and called to keep the sector closed and extend financial support to allow businesses to plan for reopening and restart their supply chains later this month.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: "We welcome that the Executive has come to a decision on the restrictions placed on the hospitality industry and close contact businesses. This brings to a conclusion a period of uncertainty and will hopefully result in thousands of jobs and businesses being saved…

"The Christmas period is vital for our hospitality businesses and while we know that this year will be a lot different, it will provide a critical, if not much reduced, income to help secure jobs and businesses."

Photo: Shutterstock

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