Hospitality business in Northern Ireland are to remain closed until at least the 20 November as the country’s ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown is extended another week.

Leaders announced yesterday (12 November) that unlicensed premises, including cafes and coffee shops, will be permitted to reopen from next Friday with an 8pm curfew, and pubs and bars will be able to sell sealed off-sales.

All other licensed premises, including restaurants, pubs and bars, will be allowed to reopen from 27 November, but it is yet to be confirmed if businesses will be subject to the 11pm curfew imposed in September.

Additional financial support for affected businesses will also be extended, including support for mitigations such as contract tracing.

Responding to the announcement, Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said: “We welcome that the Executive has come to a decision on the restrictions placed on the hospitality industry and close contact businesses.

“This brings to a conclusion a period of uncertainty and will hopefully result in thousands of jobs and businesses being saved.

“The Christmas period is vital for our hospitality businesses and while we know that this year will be a lot different, it will provide a critical, if not much reduced, income to help secure jobs and businesses.”