TUV leader Jim Allister has questioned the differences on the businesses which can remain open, and has questioned the Executive Offices ‘prescriptive‘ approach to the list.
Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“It goes without saying that we are adjusting to a new reality and in doing so I understand that it will take time for government to get things right. It is particularly concerning here in Northern Ireland where a governmental system, which an inquiry a few short weeks ago found was incapable of operating a heating scheme, now finds itself in a remarkably powerful position.
“The Executive Office has already changed its list of essential businesses to add off-licenses, but when one contrasts what Scotland has done the differences are very telling. While the First Ministers have been very prescriptive in listing business which may remain open and others which should close immediately, Scotland has been much less prescriptive.
“In Scotland businesses can remain open if they are “capable of working in a way which is fully consistent with established social distancing advice”. Furthermore it goes on to note: “We know that for some – self-employed gardeners, window cleaners, or those working in rural areas – where there is no contact – if you can practise safely, then this could be good for the community, but safety and social distancing must come first.”
“Why is all this absent from the document issued by the First Ministers in Northern Ireland?
“The discrepancy between the guidance in Northern Ireland and Scotland underscores the folly of reducing the ability of MLAs to question the Executive. My office has been flooded by calls, emails and social media messages from people asking fundamental questions about how life and society is changing. It is essential that such questions can be put to the powers that be.”