The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland will close for four weeks from Friday (16 October), excluding delivery and takeaway, as part of a host of new restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Takeaways will also be brought in line with the rest of hospitality with an 11pm curfew.
No events involving more than 15 people, except for certain outdoor sporting events, will be allowed, and funerals will be limited to 25 people with no pre- or post-funeral gatherings. Off licences and supermarkets will not be permitted to sell alcohol after 8pm.
Wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships are to be limited to 25 people with no receptions from Monday 19 October. Venues providing post-ceremony or partnership celebrations this weekend may remain open for this purpose but may not provide other services for people who are not part of the wedding or partnership parties, and these will be limited to 25 people.
Close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians are not permitted to open, apart from those relating to the continuation of essential health interventions and therapeutics.
People are recommended to work from home unless they are unable to do so and to avoid unnecessary travel. The half-term holiday break for schools and colleges will be extended to a two-week break to run 19 to 30 October.
The Executive said it will urgently engage with sectors and work on support for those affected as a matter of priority.
First minister Arlene Foster (pictured) said: "We are facing the tough reality of rapidly rising rates of infection. There are increasing numbers of people requiring acute care in our hospitals and sadly we learned yesterday of the death of seven people from Covid-19.
"The Executive has given careful and painstaking consideration of the right blend of actions that will do maximum damage to the virus but minimum harm to life chances today and tomorrow.
"We understand that these interventions will be hard but they will not be in place for a moment longer than they need to be. I would ask everyone to work with us to save lives and protect our health service."
Deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill said: "The Executive has taken these very difficult decisions in response to the emergency situation we are faced with. The coronavirus infection rate has reached crisis levels and our health service is in real danger of becoming overwhelmed.
"Urgent intervention is needed to interrupt the spread of the virus and prevent a worsening of the situation.
"These measures will be in place for four weeks, but they will only be effective if we have the support of public. We are appealing to everyone to do everything you can over these next few weeks to help keep everyone safe and save lives.
"We know this is hard and that people will be really worried about their livelihoods, but we will do everything we possibly can to make sure there are protections in place for families, workers and businesses."
Photo: Flickr – DUP Photos