‘Too late' for hospitality businesses in Northern Ireland to reopen this weekend
Even if the Executive decides to lift restrictions on hospitality in Northern Ireland on 13 November, it is now too late for many businesses to reopen this weekend, said Hospitality Ulster.
While the industry is still waiting to find out if it can reopen this week following the four-week lockdown, the trade body warned that the last-minute nature of the decision will mean that the industry will lose financial support and that it has not had the time to prepare for reopening and to restart its supply chain.
It said the "only option" is to keep hospitality closed, extend financial support, and reopen as soon as possible, no later than 27 November.
The current closure legislation expires at midnight on 12 November, but discussions are ongoing and set to resume later today. Proposals to extend restrictions have been blocked and it has also been proposed to reopen cafés and restaurant without the ability to sell alcohol, a measure Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, told the BBC was "not viable".