Speaking today during the COVID-19 committee meeting, The Economy Minister has said that retail businesses, which includes shopping centres ‘should open’.
The Stormont Executive had previously made the decision that from tomorrow (Friday 12th), non-essential retail could re-open as long as measures were in place to make the business COVID-19 safe and that the R value was to remain below 1.
However shopping centres were not originally part of this phased re-opening of retail businesses, but the Economy Minister confirmed that during the Executive meeting earlier this morning, this was one of the items agreed and all retail would be now be permitted to open, positive news for outlets within such shopping centre premises.
The Minister has also encouraged that the Executive have and ‘open and honest discussion’ about reducing the social distancing measures from 2m down to 1m saying that it was the “key to the re-opening and development of our economy” . This reduction in the distance would be particularly helpful to the tourism & hospitality industries who could increase their customer capacity.
Making comment on this decision, Minister Dodds said:
“We must make sure we are acting safely and in the best interest of protecting lives. However, if we are going to open up the economy and schools and create capacity, we will have to have an open and honest discussion with ourselves about the issue of 1 meters and 2 meters”