Fresh Blow For Hotels, Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs as NI Announces New Wave of Restrictions

The hospitality and tourism industry across Northern Ireland has been dealt a fresh blow after Stormont Ministers announced a new wave of restrictions for the Province

Stormont Ministers have agreed to extend restrictions on the hospitality sector meaning hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs across Northern Ireland will be extended for two weeks from November 27.

Close-contact services and cafes can open this Friday as planned but will have to close again next Friday (November 27), while other hospitality businesses such as pubs and licensed restaurants will be forced to remain closed until Mid-December.

All non-essential retail and services such hairdressers, beauticians and driving lessons will also be forced to close.

Restrictions on pubs, restaurants and hotels were to expire next Thursday.

Takeaway services will be allowed to remain open.

Health Minister Robin Swann has also recommended that ministers to consider local travel restrictions which were legally enforceable. So far they have only advised against “unnecessary travel”.

Colin Neill, Chief Executive of industry group Hospitality Ulster, said: “There is a huge amount of anger right across the hospitality industry.

“We have been left with left with no trade, no hope and a huge amount of redundancies on our hands.”

“This couldn’t come at a worse time for the retail industry.”

The Stormont Executive also decided sporting events will only be allowed for elite athletes, with no spectators.

Other decisions included:
– Rules around household gatherings will be unchanged and places of worship will close.
– People will be strongly encouraged to stay at home and work from home.
– Schools and child care centres can remain open and universities will conduct distanced learning except where it has to be face to face.
– Outdoor playgrounds can remain open.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland is expected to receive up to 4.3 million doses of two coronavirus vaccines once they receive official authorisation, the Department of Health has said.