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Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Face coverings to remain legal requirement over winter


Paul Givan Credit: Liam McBurney

Paul Givan Credit: Liam McBurney

Paul Givan Credit: Liam McBurney

The wearing of face coverings in certain indoor spaces will remain a legal requirement in plans laid out to deal with Covid-19 over autumn and winter.

First Minister Paul Givan laid out the mitigation measures which will remain as part of the Executive’s winter contingency plans.

He also said flexible and hybrid methods of working will remain in workplaces with employers best placed to decide what suits their business needs.

In the plan, the Executive also retained the “potential to deploy Covid status certification in higher risk settings”.

They said the Covid case numbers and indicators in Northern Ireland “remain very high” with the Executive and Department of Health planning for a potential rise in flu cases alongside the pandemic.

The Executive recently announced relaxations to the Covid regulations in Northern Ireland, with a number of changes taking place on October 31, including the reopening of nightclubs and the removal of restrictions in hospitality settings.

Last week rules on domestic settings were eased which allowed up to 30 people to be permitted in private dwellings and removed the requirement for audience members to be seated when watching performances in indoor venues.

Under the contingency plans, the Executive said in the event of a “sharp” rise in cases or “unsustainable” hospital pressures, the “legal requirement for minimum social distancing” in some settings could return.

The first minister said that the executive would launch a new public information campaign before the end of October to "build on the need for all of us to keep making safer choices".

"The efforts that have been made by so many in recent months to drive up vaccination rates and step up compliance with mitigations do seem to be working," he said.

"It is vital that we don't let up. We must maintain our focus and collective endeavour. All of us have a part to play in keeping transmission under control."

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