Ministers announce updated Covid restrictions for Derry and Strabane

Fri, 02/10/2020 - 02:14 -- Editor

The First Minister and deputy First Minister have updated localised restrictions in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

The section of their statement in relation to Derry and Strabane is set out below.

"Given the clear evidence of significant and continuing community transmission, and the proximity to Donegal where additional restrictions are already in place, the Executive has agreed to introduce a range of additional restrictions in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area as soon as practically possible.

This decision has not been taken lightly but is considered necessary and proportionate to reduce the accelerating transmission of the virus in this area.

A number of measures will be imposed by regulations. Those are that:

  • No indoor gatherings should take place where people from different households are mixed, with certain exemptions in place for:  weddings, wedding receptions, funerals and post funeral gatherings (existing restrictions and strict social distancing requirements continue to apply); services of worship in places of worship; indoor sport for individual training only (e.g. no exercise classes); workplaces where working from home is not possible; educational settings; managed youth and childcare services.
  • Hospitality venues can remain open for take-away, delivery and outdoor dining only.  Wet pubs can serve customers outdoors only. Existing restrictions for outdoor settings will continue to apply.  Hotels can only provide services to residents as per previous restrictions. A support package for affected venues will be brought forward.
  • All museums, galleries and cultural attractions must remain closed and libraries can operate a call and collect service.
  • Outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people only.  There cannot be gatherings of more than 15 people even with a risk assessment.
  • Sports training and sporting events are exempt but they must take place without any spectators.

These restrictions will be in place for a time limited period of a minimum of two weeks, and will be reviewed weekly.

In addition, the following measures are recommended in guidance:

  • People living in Derry and Strabane local government district area are required to avoid all unnecessary travel. Similarly, people should only travel to the area where it is absolutely necessary.
  • People working in the Derry City and Strabane District Council should continue to work from home where possible.
  • Schools, Early Learning and Childcare services in the local government district area will remain open.
  • Adult and Higher Education Institutions will also stay open. Managed youth settings will remain open.  However, in these settings, protective measures should be reviewed and steps should be taken to limit congregation as much as possible.
  • People are asked to walk, cycle or use private transport, shared only with members of their household where possible.  Where public transport is taken, social distancing should be observed and face coverings should be worn.

Guidance will be provided to people living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council – this is advice they are strongly urged to follow to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

The additional measures proposed for the Derry City and Strabane District Council complement those imposed in Donegal since the 28th of September– what happens in Donegal impacts on the Derry City and Strabane District Council area and vice versa.

The restrictions will be in place for two weeks in the first instance, and will be reviewed on a weekly basis. 

The Executive recognises that this will have an adverse impact on businesses and the local economy and is planning a support package, the details of which will be announced as soon as possible. We will also be making further representations to the Treasury on the need for greater support measures for our economy.

We know that localised restrictions are an established method of suppressing the virus. Returning to the previous lockdown is not where any of us want to go and that means taking effective localised action now.

The restrictions announced today will be kept under active review and will stay in place no longer than is necessary.

In addition, the level of fines for breaching the restrictions in place, not just in Derry City and Strabane District Council but across Northern Ireland is under review.  The outcome of this will be made available presently."