Six people in Northern Ireland can meet INDOORS from tomorrow in biggest lockdown ease yet – will Boris follow?

SIX people in Northern Ireland will be able to meet INDOORS from tomorrow – in the biggest lockdown ease yet in the UK.

Boris Johnson is now under pressure to follow suit and support such a change in England.

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But they still will have to stay 2m apart from each other – and carry on washing their hands.

Hugging pals will be off the cards, but dinner parties, birthday bashes and gatherings inside can return,

Arlene Foster said this afternoon: "It is recommended that social distancing should still be maintained along with other mitigations such as ventilation and good hand hygiene.

"This was the one relaxation remaining outstanding from the initial stage of our recovery plan and I know many of you have been desperate in recent weeks to visit your family and friends inside their homes."

But she warned people not to be complacent and said that China and Germany were seeing second waves.

"Covid-19 still has the capacity to wreak havoc again as unfortunately we're seeing in Beijing in recent days where they have discovered a dramatic rise in infection at hotspots and also in Germany and as we look at North Wales as well to see the clusters that have developed there," she said.

"Complacency is a luxury that we cannot afford."

At the moment in England, groups of six maximum are allowed to meet outside – but anyone who doesn't live together has to keep 2m apart.

Evidence shows that the rate of transmission outside is far lower, which is why the Government feels able to make the changes.

In places with lower ventilation, or indoors, the virus is able to spread much more easily.

Stormont ministers are considering further easing of Northern Ireland's lockdown today – but they are likely to still have to keep a 2m distance.

The PM's spokesperson was asked about whether he would make the same changes this week.

He replied: "In terms of the next steps in the roadmap, you'll have to wait until tomorrow when the PM will set out the detail to Parliament."

The final decision for Northern Ireland will be taken at a meeting of the executive on Monday afternoon, and will depend on the latest evidence on the suppression of the disease.

The suppression of the virus in the region has prompted Stormont ministers to quicken Northern Ireland's exit out of lockdown.

On Saturday, Northern Ireland's heath trust labs reported no new confirmed cases of coronavirus for the first time since lockdown.

There was one coronavirus-linked death announced on Saturday and none announced on Sunday.

Earlier this month, ministers approved the creation of indoor social bubbles involving one person living on their own and another household, without the need for social distancing restrictions – just like in England.

From June 26, caravan parks, campsites and self-contained tourist accommodation will be able to reopen in Northern Ireland.

A week later, on July 3, hotels, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, pubs and bars will be able to welcome customers back.

A provisional date for hair salons, barbers and nail bars to reopen has been set for July 6, too.

Boris has yet to confirm if holidays, haircuts and pub trips will be allowed in England from July 4 as planned.

An announcement is expected on this tomorrow in the House of Commons.


Boris is also set to expand England's "bubble" policy in England later this week.

He is finalising details of whether to allow households of two people to be able to team up with another.

That means grandparents will finally be able to reunite with grandchildren after months apart.

They can hug, go inside each other's homes, and even stay overnight.



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