Pubs and restaurants in Northern Ireland given green light to reopen earlier than planned

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Northern Ireland pubs and restaurants get green light to reopen 3 July after Coronavirus lockdown

Related tags: Northern ireland, Restaurant, Pubs, Coronavirus

The Stormont Executive has agreed to bring forward the reopening days of pubs, restaurants and hotels in Northern Ireland to 3 July.

Hotels in the country had previously been given an indicative date of 20 July for reopening. However, voices from within the tourism sector had been pressing for an earlier date.

Stormont's Economy Minister Diane Dodds, who had lobbied for an earlier date, described the move as a "good day for the Northern Ireland economy".

"It's a good day for tourism and hospitality, and in particular a sector that has been incredibly hard hit by the lockdown," she said.

From 3 July, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to begin trading again, as will pubs and bars providing they serve food and operate a table service.

Any pubs reopening that are not selling food will be allowed to serve alcohol in outside spaces such as beer gardens, providing they also operate a table service.

Commenting on yesterday's (15 June) announcement, Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said: “We welcome the Minister’s announcement, which is a significant milestone in what will be a long and challenging path to rebuild our hospitality sector.

“Minister Dodds has been a champion for our industry throughout this crisis, and she has made the right call. We, and the entire sector, are extremely grateful for her support and commitment.”

“The Covid-19 pandemic has taken many lives across our communities and it is important that we recognise the serious nature of this virus and the continued threat it poses, but we must also ensure that as many families as possible do not also lose their livelihoods.”

Related topics: Business

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