New COVID-19 restrictions from Boxing Day agreed
The Executive has announced a range of restrictions and guidance that will take effect from Boxing Day in order to curb the surge in the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the north.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill confirmed that omicron now accounts for 40 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the north.
After a lengthy meeting this afternoon the Executive announced new guidance and legal requirements.
Nightclubs are to close from Boxing Day and seating limits will be placed on hospitality venues.
Businesses will be obliged to ensure social distancing is maintained within their premises and mask wearing obligations are to be strengthened.
Ms. O'Neill confirmed: "From December 27 we are asking people to limit mixing to a maximum of three households.
"There will be guidance in terms of emphasising the importance of working from home where possible and that is going to be strengthened
"There will be a legal requirement for businesses to take reasonable measures to achieve two metre social distancing in offices or where that cannot be achieved to provide alternative mitigations.
"There will be a legal duty on businesses to take all reasonable steps to minimise the transmission of COVID.
"There will be a requirement to be seated in indoor hospitality venues and a maximum of six people can be seated together in an indoor hospitality venue. From 6am on December 26 nightclubs will be closed. Indoor dancing and indoor standing events will not be allowed."
She said the course of the pandemic will be kept under constant review over Christmas with the Executive scheduled to meet again on December 30.
Ms. O'Neill said the Executive will continue to press the British Treasury for funding support for the hospitality industry in the north.