PUBS and restaurants across the North of Ireland have been given a reprieve on shutting their doors earlier.
It had been speculated all day that the Executive was going to announced that pubs would shut at 11 pm.
It is understood that imposing a curfew earlier than 11 pm could mean changing legislation around the North of Ireland’s current licensing laws.
However, the move will require amending primary legislation which may take some time so it is unclear as to when the move will be enforceable.
First Minister Arlene Foster said ministers will revisit the issue on Monday.
The move has been announced at a Stormont Coronavirus press briefing by Mrs Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Finance Minister Conor Murphy on Thursday afternoon.
It follows a meeting of the Stormont Executive to impose further restrictions.
The First Minister denied speculation that the Executive was split over the bar restrictions, with some ministers wanting a 10 pm closure and others wanting an 11 pm closure.
The decision not to impose new restrictions on licensed premises comes just 24 hours after ‘wet’ pubs in the North of Ireland reopened their doors to the public on Wednesday, September 23, for the first time since March.
In the rest of the UK, pubs and restaurants must close at 10 pm.
In the Republic, it is 11.30 pm.
In the North of Ireland, off-licences and supermarkets can sell alcohol until 11pm.
The cut-off is 10 pm on Sundays.