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Bingo halls, bowling alleys and cinemas not allowed to open, guidance clarifies

There has been confusion during the week over what was to be included in a new strict set of coronavirus regulations to apply for four weeks.

Bingo halls, bowling alleys and cinemas are not permitted to open over the next four weeks, guidance has clarified.

Stormont announced the circuit-breaker on Wednesday in a bid to halt a dramatic rise in the spread of Covid-19 across Northern Ireland.

But there was confusion over what could continue to operate and what would have to close amid tougher restrictions.

Movie House owner Michael McAdam was among business owners who said on Thursday he did not yet know whether he could open this weekend.

Full guidance was published on Friday evening at 6pm as the new rules came into force.

The guidance clarifies that in addition to the hospitality industry being closed down apart from takeaway and delivery services, most entertainment venues must also shut.

Indoor museums, galleries, bingo halls, bowling alleys, cinemas, amusement arcades, skating rinks and funfairs are not permitted to open.

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A tourist information office in Belfast city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A tourist information office in Belfast city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

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A tourist information office in Belfast city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Outdoor attractions such as country parks can remain open and libraries may provide call and collect services, and access to the internet.

Cookery schools and soft play areas can stay open subject to risk assessment and with safety measures.

Meanwhile, close contact services – such as hairdressers, beauticians, make-up and nails, tattoo and piercing parlours, tanning shops, sports and massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic treatments, and driving instructors – are not permitted to operate.

Workers, builders, tradespeople and other professionals can continue to go into people’s houses to carry out work such as repairs, installations and deliveries.

Music lessons and private tutoring are permitted, as long as social distancing is maintained and there is no close contact.

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Belfast’s oldest Catholic Church, St Mary’s in Chapel Lane (Liam McBurney/PA)

Belfast’s oldest Catholic Church, St Mary’s in Chapel Lane (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Belfast’s oldest Catholic Church, St Mary’s in Chapel Lane (Liam McBurney/PA)

In terms of sport, elite training and competition can continue, both indoors and outdoors. Whether spectators may attend remained unclear on Friday evening.

Places of worship can remain open with measures to ensure social distancing.

There is no restriction on numbers attending acts of worship, but a limit of 15 otherwise applies in places of worship. For weddings and funerals, ceremonies are limited to 25 people.

Full regulations can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you

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