Hotels to host weddings in Northern Ireland from July 10th

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By Q Radio News and PA

Hotels and private venues will be allowed to hold weddings in Northern Ireland from July 10, First Minister Arlene Foster said.

The nuptial ceremonies have been put on hold since the lock down to combat the spread of disease.

Hairdressers and tattoo parlours were among businesses which reopened on Monday after the rate of coronavirus infection diminished.

No new deaths with Covid-19 have been recorded since Friday.

Nine positive tests were reported over the weekend.

Mrs Foster tweeted: "Executive meeting just over.

"Good news for couples waiting to get married."

The DUP leader held a Belfast city centre press conference without deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill following a dispute over the Sinn Fein vice-president's attendance at republican Bobby Storey's funeral.

Hundreds of people lined the route last Tuesday and police are investigating whether any breaches of social distancing happened.

Mrs Foster said: "I am delighted to say that we are able to announce in relation to weddings and baptisms that they can now go ahead from the 10th of July, in a socially distanced way but inside, taking account of the space available.

"No longer will they be limited in numbers, it depends on the space in the church or indeed in the venue as well."

Welcoming the decision, the Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, said: “This is another step forward for Northern Ireland as we continue the economic recovery. I have been keen to facilitate the use of hotels for wedding ceremonies and receptions as soon as possible.

“Hotels and private venues will need to assure themselves that they have taken the appropriate steps to put precautions in place for the safety of staff and customers. It is therefore likely that many will not be ready for July 10, however they are free to host weddings any time after that date once they have measures in place.”

The Minister continued: “If this is to work it is essential that we provide clear guidance about what is, and what is not, permitted.

“Wedding celebrations, irrespective of where they are held, are associated with social interaction, line-ups and hand shaking, as well as music and dancing.

“My officials will work with colleagues in the Executive Office and Department of Health to develop guidance, ensuring that any issues specific to hotels are also covered.”

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