13 Aug 2022

Significant day as many lockdown restrictions are eased today

Pupils also return to school this week

Significant day as many lockdown  restrictions are eased today

Council pitches, including at Brooke Park, will reopen today.

The easing of lockdown restrictions will take a significant step forward today.

Businesses will be allowed to resume 'click and collect' services from today.

All children will return to school this week.

Outdoor sports training is also allowed to restart from today, with some limitations.

However, unlike other parts of the UK, retail and hospitality businesses in the North do not yet know when they can re-open.

The Northern Ireland Executive is due to meet on Thursday to discuss their plans in terms of further easing of the current lockdown restrictions.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts described the resumption of 'click and collect' services as 'a long overdue and welcome development'.

“It is a step toward the wider reopening of our high streets and will provide a much-needed lifeline for many local independent retailers whose businesses are on their last legs.

“This Thursday's Executive meeting will be one of the most important ever for thousands of local small business owners.

“With over 1million vaccinations, falling hospital admissions and decreasing new cases of the virus, there is absolutely no reason why the Executive cannot greenlight the safe reopening of non-essential retail, hospitality and close contact services for 26th April.”

Mr Roberts said his organisation was also concerned that the Executive is not doing enough preparation for the wider reopening of our high streets.

“Public hand sanitisers, Covid marshals and agreed Covid compliance signage for businesses, all need to be in place ahead of reopening.

“These next few weeks will be make or break for thousands of local small businesses.”

Meanwhile, Derry City and Strabane District Council has said that its outdoor sports facilities are now available to be booked following the latest phase of the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

These include facilities at the Foyle Arena; Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium; Templemore Sports Complex; Brooke Park; Bishop's Field; Caw 3G and all council-owned grass pitches.

Under the new regulations up to 15 people - including coaches - are permitted to take part in structured outdoor sports training, through clubs or individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity.

The new guidelines specify that initially adults are permitted to train as part of a group of 15 people including coaches only.

Subject to pitch size and public health guidance, for those within the 13 to 18 years they can train as two groups of 15, while those aged 12 years and under can train as three groups of 15.

Training is advised for essential participants only and guidelines around no car sharing, no spectators and gatherings remain in place.

There can be no competition within or between groups and coaches cannot move between groups.

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