Arlene Foster: "This is great news for our economy."
By Anthony Neeson
Significant relaxations to the Covid-19 restrictions have come into effect in Northern Ireland.
Bars, cafés and restaurants are once more open for inside table service while up to six people from two households can meet in a private dwelling and stay overnight. Outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people can also take place.
The numbers attending post-ceremony celebrations such as weddings will be determined by the venue on a risk assessed basis. This also applies to gatherings following a funeral.
First Minister Arlene Foster said she was pleased to be in a position to confirm the opening of more parts of society from Monday.
“After an anxious wait for many, this is great news for our people and our economy,” she said.
"I want to thank the public for their patience and perseverance and I commend all those sectors who have worked diligently to prepare for restart.
“There is no doubt that the impacts of the pandemic over the last year will continue to be felt deeply. But in moving forward, there is hope. Now is a time to look ahead and to enjoy these hard won freedoms safely."
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “This is a day of positive progress on our road to recovery as we have been able to confirm significant relaxations to the restrictions from Monday 24 May.
“As we begin to rebuild, we are very much focused on personal, societal and economic wellbeing. This latest set of easements will have wide-reaching benefits for individuals, families, businesses and workers."
After five months of being closed hotel and tourist accommodation have also reopened, while the same applies to indoor visitor and cultural attractions, such as museums, galleries, cinemas, indoor play areas, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, libraries and bingo halls. Music venues, however, are not included.