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A brave new world as NI shoppers return to streets to find out how much has changed

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Shoppers get back on the streets in Belfast yesterday

Shoppers get back on the streets in Belfast yesterday

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Shoppers get back on the streets in Belfast yesterday

Northern Ireland became the first region in the UK to sanction the unconditional return of its retail sector.

After nearly three months of lockdown, it was a damp, quiet and rather cautious start to the supposed blanket reopening of all non-essential shops.

Shopping centres had been given the green light on Thursday to follow big outlets such as Ikea and B&Q that had already opened for business.