N Ireland rejoins rest of UK retail with 30 April non-essential stores reopening
Northern Ireland will be allowed to catch up with the rest of the UK when non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality reopen from 30 April.
New new restart date was agreed by ministers and First Minister Arlene Foster told a special sitting of the NI Assembly that it was a "landmark day”.
However, there was mixed public response to the news as the Belfast Telegraph reported that some fear Northern Ireland is exiting lockdown too quickly, while some say it’s not quick enough.
But the announcement will come as a great relief for those non-essential retailers that have had to sit on the sidelines and watch their England and Wales counterparts enjoy a busy return to trading from 12 April.
Non-essential retail in Scotland will be allowed to reopen from 26 April.
Unlicensed and licensed premises such as restaurants, beer gardens, and cafes can open outdoors earlier than expected, alongside gyms. Indoor hospitality venues, including pubs and hotels, can then to reopen on 24 May, just after the rest of the UK.
Northern Ireland Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly told the BBC that the announcement on the reopening of retail “had brought clarity” with the body’s chief executive Glyn Roberts noting it was a "very significant step forward for the reopening of our high streets".
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