CORONAVIRUS rules for hospitality businesses in the North of Ireland will ease later on today Friday, September 10, with table service restrictions set to be removed.
The measure takes effect at 5 pm.
It means customers will be able to queue for service in bars and pubs for the first time since pandemic measures took effect last year.
It is one of a series of relaxations to Covid-19 rules in the North coming into force after agreement by Stormont ministers this week.
The number of people allowed indoors at domestic settings will rise from 10 to 15 from four households.
People will be allowed to play pool, darts and gaming machines.
Dancing will also be allowed at weddings and civil partnership receptions but nightclubs are to remain closed for now.
The requirement to purchase tickets in advance for live performances will be removed, as will the need for audience members to have allocated seats.
The executive said it wanted to work with hospitality businesses to ensure other safety mitigations remain in place, as restrictions are gradually lifted.
Colin Neill of the industry body Hospitality Ulster said some of the remaining restrictions on bars and restaurants were “punitive” and he called for detail on when they would end.
He said many businesses in the sector were “still struggling to find their feet and recover from the decimation caused by the pandemic”.
The North of Ireland remains under stricter Covid-19 rules than in Great Britain.
Stormont ministers have said that is due to higher rates of Coronavirus here and that easing more restrictions will depend on the level of the population that has received both doses of a vaccine for Covid-19.
First Minister Paul Givan previously said he wanted to see an end to all Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland before the end of September.
His party has been urging the Executive to “set out a path” to remove other rules but that will require support from the other four main Stormont parties.
The legal requirement for social distancing outdoors no longer exists in the North.
However, indoor premises such as restaurants, shops and indoor attractions are still required to comply with at least 1m (3ft).
The rules on face coverings also remain in place in shops, when not seated in a hospitality venue and in a number of other settings such as public transport.
The Republic’s government has set out a plan to remove almost all of its remaining restrictions by October 22.Tags: