Michelle O’Neill said Northern Ireland’s lockdown exit strategy offers a plan “with caution, vigilance and hope” to chart a journey out of control.
On March 2, the Deputy Prime Minister presented the Pathway to Recovery Plan to the Stonemont Assembly, but ressed that “we are not out of the tree”.
Executive ministers approved the strategy earlier on March 2. It focuses on nine major areas: retail, hospitality, education, youth, work, culture, heritage, entertainment, sports, leisure, travel, tourism, worship, ceremonies, home and community.
“This is a day of hope,” said Miss O’Neill.
Each will gradually come out of the lockdown. Locked down, carefully the first steps, gradually simplifying, further simplifying and preparing for the future.
However, the Deputy Prime Minister clarified that the master plan would drive the data and therefore the target dates would not be included in the plan. This allows time to accurately inform decisions based on health, community, and financial data, and to see the real-time impact of the spread of the virus.
This time will be used carefully to review the results of routine modeling and to assess whether it is safe to take the next step. “
Miss O’Neill said the executive was determined to bring education back to children and young people as soon as possible for their education, well-being and future aspirations.
Executive course progress is reviewed every four weeks.
Arlene Foster announced on February 18 that the lockdown in Northern Ireland would continue until April 1, amid fears that cases would escalate after St. Patrick’s Day (March 17).
However, preschool and elementary children up to P3 have been informed that they will return to class on March 8 and that senior students will continue their distance learning.
High school students from major exam years will return next, with children ages 12 to 14 starting face-to-face classes on March 22nd.
Students in P3 and below will resume distance learning from March 22 to reduce their risk of infection during major exam years.
Distance learning for all other students will continue until more information about the gradual return is announced.
The Stay At Home Ordinance came into force on January 8. People can only leave home with a “reasonable excuse,” such as medical or food purchases, exercise, and work that cannot be done at home.
Under current restrictions all close contact services and non-essential businesses will not be allowed to open until March 5, although some clicks and collection services may resume from March 8. All tourist attractions, gymnasiums and swimming pools will be closed.
Ministers did not make travel outside the country illegal, but instead issued guidelines against unnecessary travel between Northern Ireland, Britain and the Republic of Ireland.