Plan revealed for easing of Covid restrictions

A five-step plan has been announced by the Executive for a gradual easing of the Covid-19 lockdown.

However it does not include a timetable as is the case with England and Scotland’s plans.

The gradual return to normality will depend on health criteria being met along the way.


Nine pathways across social and business have been highlighted with a five-step sequencing of the Executive’s plans to gradually lift restrictions. They are Home and community, Education, Work, Retail, Hospitality, Sport and leisure, Worship and ceremonies, Travel and tourism and Culture, heritage and entertainment

Step one represents the current lockdown restrictions, with steps two to four representing an easing of the rules and the final step entitled preparing for the future.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said the plan is “cautious and hopeful”.

However she added that the executive was committed to getting all children back into classrooms as “quickly as possible”.

We must do everything we can to try to make this one the last lockdown,” she said.

Today (Tuesday, March 2) two more coronavirus-related deaths were recorded by the Department of Health in the North.

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has dropped by 13 to 289 – the lowest number since October last year. Thirty-four people with Covid-19 are being treated in intensive care. A further 149 cases have been diagnosed.

Mrs O’Neill insisted that the Executive would “not be driven by hard dates”, defending the decision not to include a timetable in the document.

She stated that time would be used carefully to assess the data before deciding whether the next restrictions could be eased.

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