Northern Ireland to pause reopening of pubs until at least 1 September
Northern Ireland is keeping its pubs closed for now.
Northern Ireland is in lockstep with the Republic of Ireland when it comes to the reopening of pubs. Or, at least, pubs that don't sell food.
It was announced on Thursday that pubs in Northern Ireland that don't serve food would not be reopening any earlier than 1 September. First Minister Arlene Foster said that the R number in Northern Ireland is anywhere between 0.8 and 1.8, and official estimates put it at 1.3.
Additionally, face masks will now be mandatory in the six counties for all enclosed spaces where social distancing cannot be adhered to.
Northern Ireland saw 43 new cases recorded on Thursday, a major jump from previous days. However, Northern Ireland has now gone 24 days in a row without a Covid-19 death.
Today's announcements come just days after it was confirmed that Ireland would not be moving to Phase 4 of its reopening strategy on 10 August, as had been planned.
A key element of that decision will see pubs (that don't serve food) remain closed indefinitely, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin speculating that they may even remain closed until 2021.