A list of essential workers has been published by the government in Northern Ireland.
They include food and personal protective equipment producers.
Utilities, water, waste treatment and construction activities supporting the health service and food industry are also permitted to continue.
The list was drawn up by a forum chaired by the Labour Relations Agency and including the Chamber of Commerce, CBI, trade unions and Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency (PHA).
It was approved by Stormont ministers on Monday.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “The list is published for advisory purposes to allow companies to make their own decisions. If a company can work within the social distancing guidelines then it should do so.
“The safety guidance will have practical application in the workplace.”
Along with the accompanying guidance on safe working practices, the list is there to protect everyone in the workplace, to ensure our essential supply chains remain solid and to help Northern Ireland be ready to rebuild its economy when this crisis has passedEconomy Minister Diane Dodds
Ministers have faced criticism in some quarters for the time it has taken to produce the list of essential workers.
A lockdown on most businesses was announced last month to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Other essential industries allowed to continue working include:
– Distribution of livestock and agricultural materials;
– Newsagents and bicycle shops;
– Car parks;
– Vehicle repair garages;
– Transport workers;
– Food delivery and takeaway businesses;
– Media workers;
– Scientific researchers and lawyers;
– Laboratory and analytical services.
The aim of the priority sectors list, which is fully supported by business and union representatives on the Forum, is to clarify what constitutes a priority sector and to support Northern Ireland companies to continue their business operations and protect the incomes of their workforces.
Mrs Dodds added: “Along with the accompanying guidance on safe working practices, the list is there to protect everyone in the workplace, to ensure our essential supply chains remain solid and to help Northern Ireland be ready to rebuild its economy when this crisis has passed.”