NI set for two week circuit breaker from next Friday
The Northern Ireland Executive has tonight agreed to introduce a two week circuit breaker to slow the spread of Coronavirus in the community and to protect the Health Service.
The new restrictions will cover two weeks from Friday 27 November and the current restrictions will remain in place until then.
The measures agreed by the Executive are:
• Closure of all retail except essential retail that was permitted to stay open back in March.
• Off-licences will remain open, with an 8pm closing time.
• Closure of close contact services, and driving instruction (not motorcycles), except close contact Film and TV production; those ancillary to medical, health and social care services; and elite sport therapeutic services, ie as in 13 October - 19 November.
• Closure of all hospitality (except for accommodation for essential travel). Takeaway and delivery, and food and drink in motorway services, airports and harbour terminals remain open.
• Closure of all leisure and entertainment (to include all soft play areas, gyms, swimming pools etc)
• Sporting events only permitte for elite sports. Individual/household outdoor exercise and school PE to continue.
• Elite sports events played behind closed doors with no spectators.
• No household gatherings of more than one household, other than current arrangements for linked households (bubbles), with current exceptions for caring, maintenance, house moves etc.
• Closure of places of worship, except for weddings, civil partnerships and funerals. Restriction of 25 people max remains.
• Stay at home, work from home if at all possible, otherwise only leave for essential services such as education, healthcare needs, care for others, or outdoor exercise.
• Schools and childcare to remain open.
• Universities / FE to provide learning at distance except where it is essential to provide it face to face.
• Public parks and outdoor play area to remain open.
• Stay at home in guidance with liaison with PSNI on policing and police visibility.
• Financial support package to be developed over the next few days.
The Executive took the decision to introduce the circuit breaker from next Friday after modelling showed that this was the best time to introduce restrictions and to avoid the likelihood of further restrictions before Christmas.
Ministers today heard that the R number was around 1 and that while the current restrictions has had some positive impact, hospital inpatient numbers are still higher than the first wave and are declining slowly.