Tighter COVID-19-related restrictions will be implemented in Northern Ireland on Friday October 16 to attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions, which will be in place for four weeks, include a number of measures that will affect Northern Ireland's hospitality sector, including a requirement for all hospitality sector businesses and services, except for food delivery and takeaway services, to close for the four week period.
Food delivery and takeaway services must close by 11pm.
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Additionally, off-licenses and supermarket will required to stop selling alcohol at 8pm, and, from Monday October 19, no more than 25 people will be permitted to attend wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, and no receptions will be permitted.
Venues that are due to host wedding receptions on Friday October 16, Saturday October 17 and Sunday October 18 will be permitted to remain open for receptions scheduled on these dates, but will not be permitted to provide services for anyone other than reception guests, and no more than 25 people will be permitted to attend receptions on these three dates.
"The Tough Reality Of Rapidly Rising Rates Of Infection"
Tourismni.com quotes Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster as saying, "We are facing the tough reality of rapidly rising rates of infection. There are increasing numbers of people requiring acute care in our hospitals and sadly we learned yesterday of the death of seven people from COVID-19.
"The Executive has given careful and painstaking consideration of the right blend of actions that will do maximum damage to the virus but minimum harm to life chances today and tomorrow.
"We understand that these interventions will be hard, but they will not be in place for a moment longer than they need to be. I would ask everyone to work with us to save lives and protect our health service."
"Coronavirus Infection Rate Has Reached Crisis Levels"
Deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill is quoted by the website as saying, "The Executive has taken these very difficult decisions in response to the emergency situation we are faced with. The coronavirus infection rate has reached crisis levels, and our health service is in real danger of becoming overwhelmed.
"Urgent intervention is needed to interrupt the spread of the virus and prevent a worsening of the situation.
"These measures will be in place for four weeks, but they will only be effective if we have the support of public. We are appealing to everyone to do everything you can over these next few weeks to help keep everyone safe and save lives.
"We know this is hard and that people will be really worried about their livelihoods, but we will do everything we possibly can to make sure there are protections in place for families, workers and businesses."
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