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Date: 24 May 2021
Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has welcomed the reopening of indoor hospitality and leisure, as a further easing of restrictions comes into effect from today.
Alderman McCoubrey, who will hand over the chain of office next week, said he was pleased to be finishing his term of office at a time of growing optimism for the city.
“It has been a long and challenging year so it’s fantastic that we’re making more progress on our recovery journey with the further easing of restrictions today,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“There is a growing sense of optimism for brighter days ahead as we all look forward to a wee bit of normality with the return of city life, and it has lifted spirits to see shops open again and people out and about.”
Alderman McCoubrey added: “Businesses have worked hard to ensure that they can reopen safely and are ready to welcome back their customers, and they are to be commended for all they have done to put measures in place to help staff and customers stay safe. I do also want to remind everyone, however, that it is still vitally important to continue following the public health advice because the last thing we want is for people to become complacent.
“Council and our city partners are doing all we can to help Belfast stay safe but we all must play our part in helping to keep transmission rates in our communities to a minimum, and protecting our families and loved ones; please continue to wear a mask, keep your distance and wash or sanitise hands often.”
More than 100 retailers have signed up to a Covid Aware scheme to give shoppers and customers reassurance that businesses are aware of and are complying with the NI Executive's regulations and public health COVID-19 guidance. The scheme was developed with the support of industry representatives and businesses taking part will display a sticker on their premises.
Belfast City Council has also installed 30 hand sanitising stations at locations across the city centre supported by signage reminding people to continue social distancing.
Alderman McCoubrey added: “While challenges undoubtedly remain, I think we can all start to feel a bit more hopeful that brighter days are ahead and slowly but surely the city will once again be thriving. As a Council, we want to continue working with our city partners to ensure we are doing all we can to support all those sectors that have been hardest hit over the last year. It will be a marathon, not a sprint; and we also must see this as an opportunity – not to just get things back to how they were, but to look at how we use our city centres and public spaces as we move ahead on our recovery journey.”
For more information on the Covid Aware scheme for retailers, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/covidaware
Belfast City Council is also operating a free helpline for businesses, providing advice and guidance to businesses on reopening and operating within the current regulations. The business support helpline operates Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm 028 9027 0565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org