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Coronavirus Northern Ireland updates: Social distancing to be reduced to one metre, Executive announces

  • NI death toll remains at 547
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First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Thursday.

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Thursday.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

The move comes just days after Boris Johnson announced the change in England (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The move comes just days after Boris Johnson announced the change in England (Andrew Milligan/PA)

PA

The NI Executive will meet to discuss social distancing regulations  (PA)

The NI Executive will meet to discuss social distancing regulations (PA)

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Thursday.

The two metre social distancing rule in Northern Ireland is to be reduced to one metre, First Minister Arlene Foster has announced.

It comes just days after Prime Boris Johnson announced the rule change in England and it will be warmly welcomed by the local hospitality industry.

Speaking at the Executive's Covid-19 update, Mrs Foster said: "A minimum one-metre distance between individuals can be considered acceptable in circumstances where appropriate mitigations are made."

She said the relaxations had been made through the efforts of people to drive down the rate of infection.

"Northern Ireland is opening up again, however there is an onus on all of us not to ease the fight and vigilance against Covid-19," she added.

Other restrictions that are to be lifted include:

  • Places of worship can reopen from June 29.
  • Hotels and restaurants can reopen from July 3.
  • Visitor attractions barring museums and galleries can reopen from the same date.
  • Nail parlours and beauty salons will wait until July 6.
  • Elite athletes will be able to use indoor training facilities from June 29.
  • Betting shops can reopen from July 3.
  • Tattoo shops and reflexology can open on July 6.
  • Playgrounds will be unlocked on July 10 and libraries from July 16.
  • Competitive sport begins on July 17.
  • Leisure centres can reopen on August 7.

The news comes after the Department of Health confirmed that no further coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours.

Testing has also revealed one further case of the virus.

There are 29 people in hospital with one in intensive care with the disease. Forty-four care homes are dealing with an outbreak.

Here's how Thursday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph