NI Executive to give reopening dates for hairdressers and retail next week

Arlene Foster said it is important to give certainty to people.
NI Executive to give reopening dates for hairdressers and retail next week

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Northern Ireland Executive hopes to publish dates for the reopening of hairdressers, beauticians and non-essential retail when it meets next week.

Arlene Foster said it is important to give certainty to people, and that a timeline to reopen close contact services could be published at the Executive meeting on April 15th.

A number of lockdown restrictions will be eased from April 12, including the reopening of garden centres and car washes.

Contactless click-and-collect for all non-essential retail will also resume.

Ms Foster said on Tuesday that the number of daily Covid-19 cases continues to fall.

“As you’ve seen from our colleagues in Westminster they have been moving ahead in relation to the relaxation of the Covid regulations,” the DUP leader added.

“It’s very important that we also continue to relax the Covid regulations because the statistics are very good again today.

“If you look at the statistics, the numbers of positive cases have again shown to be very small, which of course is welcome.

“My colleague, Diane Dodds [Minister for the Economy], has put papers in in relation to the lifting of restrictions in terms of close contact services, hairdressers and beauticians and non-essential retail, which of course is very important as well.

“I do hope that we will be able to give dates in relation to those issues when we next go to the Executive to look at these issues.

“It is important that we do give some certainty to people and I think that what you will see coming out of the next Executive are some timelines in relation to non-essential retail and close contact services.

“We do of course recognise that we’re still waiting on the global travel taskforce to hear what the outcome of that is.

“We’re hoping that that’s going to come before the end of the week.

“There’s still a huge amount of work to do in relation to the lifting of Covid restrictions.”

It comes as the Department of Health confirmed three more deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours.

An additional 57 positive cases were also reported – the lowest number in a 24-hour period since September.

House parties

Meanwhile, three people have been arrested and 94 Covid-19 fines were issued by police investigating house parties in south Belfast.

Officers were called to the Holyland area in the early hours of Tuesday.

Four people were also reported to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and one community resolution notice was issued.

Chief Insp Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “We received a number of reports throughout yesterday afternoon, last night and into the early hours of this morning of anti-social behaviour in the Holylands area.

“Officers attended on a number of occasions to disperse various groups of people.

“Police would encourage residents to continue to report issues of anti-social behaviour to them.

“While local officers will be making follow-up enquiries, it is disappointing that we continue to receive reports about noisy parties and anti-social behaviour in this residential area.

“In light of last night’s events police are currently in the Holylands and will continue to have a nightly policing operation in this area this week.

“Local residents should be respected and should not have to contend with this type of behaviour.”

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