Belfast City Council is set to relax its Sunday trading regulations for larger stores and supermarkets in a bid to help healthcare workers get their shopping during the crisis.
The move, starting this weekend, was confirmed last night by veteran UUP councillor Jim Rodgers, a former Lord Mayor of the city. Mr Rodgers said it was only temporary measure, and that the majority of councillors remain opposed to a general extension of Sunday trading hours.
He said Belfast City Council would not be taking enforcement action against stores which opened for longer hours during the coronavirus crisis.
"It's only because of the coronavirus. Some organisations have been lobbying hard to change the Sunday opening hours, and at present the majority of the council are opposed, for a variety of reasons," he said.
He said that while not all stores would decide to open for longer hours, those who did so would not face council action.
"The unions are not happy about it. They have fought long and hard to prevent any increase in hours - but it's just for the time of this virus crisis," the east Belfast councillor told the Belfast Telegraph.