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Northern Ireland opens for fishing

Northern Ireland Executive ministers yesterday allowed fishing to commence in the first of the Executive’s five-step road-map to recovery. The announcement that outdoor activities “that do not involve shared contact with hard surfaces will be permitted” meant that anglers could venture out for the first time, eight weeks after the first Coronavirus death was reported in Northern Ireland.

In what is the biggest step taken by any of the home nations, the Executive also allowed socially distanced outdoor gatherings of up to six people; the opening of places of worship for acts of individual prayer; drive-in religious services and cinemas; and also the suggestion that “Concerts and live theatre may also be facilitated but those attending must remain in their cars and adhere to the social distancing and hygiene guidelines.”. It also opened council sites where certain types of exercise is permissible, and household waste facilities.

Northern Ireland still has over 1,900 recorded cases of coronavirus, and recorded six deaths yesterday as First Minister, Arlene Foster, commented on its road-map out of the virus, which was announced last week but without a timetable: “The relaxations… have been hard won freedoms and it is vital that when you exercise those freedoms you do it in a way that does not put anybody else’s safety at risk. As we move through the lifting of restrictions under Step 1 of our roadmap, we must proceed cautiously and adhere to public health advice. That is going to allow us to open up more freedoms in due course, but you should remember if you are exhibiting the symptoms of Coronavirus, then you need to self-isolate.”

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