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Newry and Armagh MLA, Justin McNulty has welcomed the easing of restrictions by the Executive but has called for urgent clarity on a number of areas including the arts sector opening dates and hospital visiting arrangements.

Mr McNulty said, ‘The gradual easing of restrictions are a sign there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we are slowly but surely returning to a sense of normality.  Children are back at school, some businesses are starting to reopen and many more, including close contact services and hospitality, will open up in the weeks ahead following the announcements by the First Ministers on Thursday.’ 

Arts organisations and others need more clarity on future opening dates.

‘Whilst these decisions are good news, there are still many areas which communities are looking for guidance and clarity on.  I have received many calls from couples planning to get married in the weeks ahead and they have been left wondering how the restrictions impact them and their plans for their big day.’ 

‘For those who have loved ones in hospital or expecting parents there needs to be greater clarity on visiting restrictions in our hospitals.  Equally there needs to be a clear plan for the reopening of day care facilities for the elderly and those with learning disabilities.  There also needs to be greater clarity on how people can access GP services in person.’  

‘The hospitality, events and arts sector are also seeking greater clarity on how the various opening up dates announced will impact on them and their sectors.  They are critical parts of our business network and social lives and people crave that sense that life is returning to normal.  However these sectors want greater clarity on what restrictions and mitigations will remain in the weeks and months ahead.’ 

Mr McNulty concluded. ‘We have all played our part over the last year and it is imperative that businesses and the community are given a clear sense of what is ahead and what we will all need to do to ensure we live with and defeat the virus and that we don’t have any further lockdowns or restrictions on business or liberties.’ 

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