Easing of restrictions explained, as Delta variant remains a concern in Northern Ireland

The Executive received an update on the Delta variant, which now accounts for 75% of the cases in NI.

The statement from the Executive says that an increase in the Delta variant case numbers are “very worrying.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” the statement said.

“We will have a particular focus on the hospitalisations resulting from the increase in cases and the potential pressure on our health service. After very careful consideration we have decided to move forward on a select number of areas that focus largely on relaxations in the outdoors environment, which we know to be associated with lower risk.”

The Executive have also announced that from Friday, the cap on outdoor gatherings will be removed and the maximum number permitted will be determined by the risk assessment carried out for the venue.

From July 5, live music will be permitted at licensed and unlicensed hospitality businesses that sell or provide food and/or drink for consumption on the premises.

The number of households permitted to meet outdoors at private dwellings will be increased from three to five, with the maximum number of people remaining at 15, including children.

The Executive has also approved a restart of overnight residential stays for children and young people across all sectors.

“We are carrying out a review of the current position on our Pathway out of Restrictions and at next week’s Executive meeting we will consider the sequencing of further relaxations and the process by which we hope to move forward over the summer, in line with the most up-to-date data.

“We continue to ask that everyone comes forward to receive their vaccine as soon as possible and please keep both appointments. We urge employers to facilitate workers getting their vaccines.”