Pubs, non-essential shops, gyms and churches must all close from November 27 under new lockdown restrictions

Northern Ireland Executive to announce new measures in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19

Donegal pubs set to reopen on Monday week

Pubs will remain closed under the new restrictions.

Tougher lockdown restrictions will be introduced from November 27, the Northern Ireland Executive has decided.

Non-essential retail will have to shut, and the hospitality sector will have to remain closed.

Schools will be allowed to stay open.

Close contact services can reopen this Friday, but will have to close again on November 27.

The new restrictions are to operate for an initial period of two weeks.

The Northern Ireland Executive met today after Health Minister Robin Swann warned more restrictions were necessary by the end of November.

He said otherwise, a full lockdown in mid-December would not be enough to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

The measures agreed by ministers are extensive and are believed to include:

- Closure of all non-essential retail

- Closure of close contact services such as hair and beauty salons and driving instructors; exemptions for those in film and TV production, those involved in health and social care services and elite sport services

- Hospitality will only be permitted to offer takeaway services - food and drink in motorway services, airports and harbour terminals remain open

- Closure of all leisure and entertainment to include soft play areas, gyms and swimming pools

- Sporting events only permitted at elite level and to be played without spectators

- Closure of places of worship with exceptions for weddings, civil partnerships and funerals - the maximum number present will remain at 25

- It is understood that close contact services and coffee shops that are due to reopen on Friday can still do so - but only for one week.

- Off licences will be allowed to remain open, but will have to close at 8pm

- No household gatherings of more than one household, other than current bubbling arrangements, will be permitted with exceptions for caring, maintenance, house moves.

- Schools and childcare will remain open.

It is understood the executive took the decision to introduce the circuit breaker from next Friday, after modelling showed it was the 'best time to introduce restrictions and avoid the likelihood' of further measures before Christmas.

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