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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Everything you can do from Friday and what’s reopening next week

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Business across Northern Ireland, including hairdressers and tattoo studios, prepare for reopening as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Business across Northern Ireland, including hairdressers and tattoo studios, prepare for reopening as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Staff at Bellaire Hair & Beauty Salon in Belfast on Royal Ave in Belfast are busy preparing their premises for reopening

Staff at Bellaire Hair & Beauty Salon in Belfast on Royal Ave in Belfast are busy preparing their premises for reopening

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Business across Northern Ireland, including hairdressers and tattoo studios, prepare for reopening as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Hair salons and beauticians are among the close contact services set to reopen in Northern Ireland today.

One of the most anticipated steps out of coronavirus restrictions yet, those desperate to tame their lockdown manes or even get a tattoo will finally be welcomed back, albeit while strictly adhering to social distancing measures.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

Also permitted from Friday, outdoor sport organised by an affiliated club will be extended to include squad training.

Competitive outdoor sport with participant numbers not exceeding 100 and no spectators will also resume.

Young drivers keen to finally pass their test will be allowed to resume driving lessons, theory and driving tests.

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Staff at Bellaire Hair & Beauty Salon in Belfast on Royal Ave in Belfast are busy preparing their premises for reopening

Staff at Bellaire Hair & Beauty Salon in Belfast on Royal Ave in Belfast are busy preparing their premises for reopening

Staff at Bellaire Hair & Beauty Salon in Belfast on Royal Ave in Belfast are busy preparing their premises for reopening

Other activities restarting include outdoor static band practice and rehearsal in agreed locations.

This week has already seen the remainder of secondary school pupils return to school, along with a limited number of outdoor retail opening including garden centres and car dealerships.

Click and collect services for non-essential retail has already returned as well as training for outdoor sports clubs.

Looking forward, the Executive has signposted two other key dates to lift restrictions.

From April 30, the number of people allowed to gather in private gardens will increase to 15 people from no more than three households.

Individual training will also be allowed in gyms, swimming pools and other large venues.

An indicative date of May 24, if current Covid figures allow, will see all hospitality reopen indoors with mitigations.

In addition, indoor visits in private homes, the reopening of the remainder of tourist accommodation and indoor visitor attractions will also return.

As progress on lifting restrictions continues, uncertainty remains on whether or not Northern Ireland will introduce measures such as vaccine passports.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said he favours limiting such options to international travel and large events, but said he would not back imposing them on local hospitality or close-contact services.

He also raised concerns about the different pace of the vaccine rollout in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but said he was confident that any gap would be closed within months.

Mr Swann later spoke out against failures in securing data from Irish authorities on the amount of international passengers arriving on the island.

He also warned of the need to protect Northern Ireland's supply line of medicines as a result of the Northern Ireland protocol.

With Northern Ireland currently receiving 98% of its supplies from Great Britain, a one-year grace period delaying this part of the trade arrangement is due to end this year.

The UK is currently negotiating with the EU to extend the grace period in relation to medicines and medical supplies.

Mr Swann said he could not stand by if the negotiations resulted in any future delays.

“It would be unacceptable that our medicines or medical devices are impacted and the supply of them,” he said.

“We are a small part of the overall UK market in regards to many of these big pharma companies and I see no reason why we should be treated differently."


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