You will have heard by now that last night the Executive finally reached agreement on the way forward for the local restrictions. They have agreed the following:
Close contact services including driving instructors will reopen by appointment on Friday 20 November;
Hospitality will reopen on a graduated basis, with unlicensed premises such as cafes and coffee shops opening on Friday 20 November, with restricted opening hours to 8.00pm. This will not include the purchase or consumption of alcohol on such premises;
Support will be provided for mitigations to reduce risk within the hospitality sector, including improved ventilation and requirements for the recording of customer information for contact tracing purposes;
Pubs and bars will be permitted to sell sealed off sales on Friday 20 November;
The remaining restrictions, which came into being on 16 October, would be extended and come to an end at midnight on 26 November, leaving all elements of hospitality including hotels able to open on 27 November;
Other updates include:
A vaccination programme is proposed to be rolled out from as early as possible in December in line with England, initially targeting priority groups such as health care staff, care homes and those with underlying vulnerabilities;
Ongoing preparation for introduction of rapid testing at the earliest opportunity;
Additional financial support for affected businesses; and
A strengthened adherence/compliance working group, which will work to assist and to mitigate risk in the opening up of the hospitality businesses.
On the back of these announcements we, in Newry BID, are working on a campaign to help people return ‘safely to our city’.
We are taking a feature in the Irish News on Tuesday 24th November; we have a front page banner in the Newry Reporter next week; and we are profiling businesses on Q Radio; as well as outdoor advertising.
We will continue with our programme of street cleansing, bio-fogging and we are sourcing additional social distancing signage for members. We are also increasing our social media. We have been running a competition over lockdown for people to tell us their favourite stores in Newry. This has reached more than 35,000 to date.
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