STORMONT ministers have approved relaxing lockdown rules in the North of Ireland, meaning hospitality can operate indoors from Monday, May 24.
The Executive has been meeting on today, Thursday, May 20, to sign off changes.
The changes include allowing six people from two households to meet indoors in homes from Monday.
Hotels, restaurants and B&Bs will also reopen along with cinemas and museums.
A traffic light system for foreign travel will also take effect from then, subject to ministerial approval.
Only a very limited number of countries are set to make the North of Ireland’s so-called “green list” for foreign travel.
It is understood that during today’s discussions, Portugal has now moved from the amber list to the green list which will be welcomed by those looking forward to a summer holiday in the sun.
This is despite advice from health officials that Portugal should stay on the amber list.
People going to countries that appear on the green list do not need to quarantine on their return.
But those returning from the likes of Portugal will be asked to take a PCR test in the days after they arrive home.
England, Scotland and Wales have already implemented similar systems, with the first travellers heading off on holiday earlier this week.
At present, the Executive’s advice is that people should only travel to or outside of Northern Ireland for essential purposes.
If returning from a country on the UK’s red list, passengers must book and enter hotel quarantine.
International travellers visiting or returning to Northern Ireland must also currently provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result, provide journey and contact details and also isolate for 10 days.
First Minister Arlene Foster said the executive was considering “the most appropriate” green list for the North of Ireland and she hoped there would be an outcome this week.
Non-essential travel from Northern Ireland to other parts of the Common Travel Area (CTA) is to be allowed from Monday and people will not be required to isolate on return if they have visited family or friends in other parts of the area.
The CTA is the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.Tags: