Still no agreement on Northern Ireland restrictions extension

The Stormont Executive will meet again this afternoon to discuss extending Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland.


For the second night in a row a decision could not be reached.


A new plan under consideration would see hairdressers and beauty parlours reopen with restrictions, alongside cafes, while pubs and bars would be able to open as off-licenses.


It’s understood that there were angry exchanges at the outset of the meeting when the DUP moved to block a proposal from health minister Robin Swann to extend the region’s current circuit-break lockdown for two more weeks.


The DUP used a contentious Stormont mechanism – a cross-community vote – to effectively veto the proposal, despite support for the proposal from the majority of executive parties.


The DUP has been strongly opposed to extending of restrictions beyond the original four-week period.


Ministers last night also debated alternative proposals tabled by the DUP which recommended a partial reopening of the hospitality sector.


The circuit-break has forced the closure of much of the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland and halted the work of close contact services such as hairdressing.