The NI Executive has agreed that public houses and bars will be permitted to re-open from the 3rd of July for the purposes of selling food and alcohol on a table-service basis.
Public houses and bars with outside spaces such as beer gardens will be able to use these spaces to serve alcohol on a table-service basis too.
These relaxations also apply to hotel restaurants, bars and outdoor areas. But the dates are conditional on controlling the rate of transmission of Covid-19 and Social Distancing measures will remain in place.
“I plan to bring further proposals to the Executive in coming weeks regarding the re-opening of bars whose primary focus is the sale of alcohol,” said the Minister.
The announcement was welcomed by Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.
“There have been considerable efforts behind the scenes through the Tourism Recovery Steering Group and we commend the Executive for responding in a positive way to the sector’s requirements,” said the NIHF’s Chief Executive Janice Gault, “We’re also encouraged by the recognition of the role that tourism and hospitality have to play in restoring the local economy and social normality as the pandemic subsides.
“Today’s new date also puts Northern Ireland on a similar trajectory to the Republic of Ireland and will allow us to compete on an all-island basis and hopefully, as transport links improve, in the GB market as well.
“The move to an earlier date is good news for the economy in Northern Ireland and gives the tourism sector an opportunity to trade over the Summer season,” she concluded.