Today (Monday August 16th) some Covid_19 restrictions have been lifted or changed in Northern Ireland. People who have had a final vaccine more than two weeks ago do not need to isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid_19.
They will still be required to have a PCR test on day two and day eight following notification. Face masks will continue to be required on public transport, indoors when not sitting down and will no longer be required for religious settings also when sitting down.
The limit of six people per table from up to six households is ended and table limits for weddings are removed. Dancing and nightclubs will remain closed with no indication yet of when they will reopen.
Meeting people indoors in a private setting will continue to be up to 10 people, but the limit on numbers of visitors outdoors is lifted. Conference and exhibition business can return from today too.
Janice Gault, Chief Executive, of Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), said:
“The hotel sector in Northern Ireland notes the easements announced by the Northern Ireland Executive today, and as an industry, is keen to see the economy fully reopen and have the opportunity to contribute to economic restoration.
The journey out of the pandemic was never going to be a simple one but the Federation welcomes today’s news on self-isolation, which has caused real issues. Many hotels have had to restructure their operations or close services as a result of the “pingdemic”.
The resumption of conferences and exhibitions is welcomed and will allow planning to start in earnest for the full restoration of this important business segment which has been closed for the last eighteen months.
No Alignment of International Travel
Ms Gault went on to say, “we are deeply disappointed to see that there has been no consideration of a realignment around international travel. Rules remain difficult with travel on an all-inclusive island of Ireland basis proving very challenging. This has resulted in the removal of Northern Ireland from travel itineraries and this could impact future contracts.”
Over the summer, the staycation market has been performing well and the sector is keen to see travel from other destinations restored. Uncertainty about travel does little to restore confidence and encourage visitors.
There is an appetite for visitors to come to Northern Ireland in the Autumn but testing, conflicting regulations and lack of clarity are doing little to promote tourism’s cause.”