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Hairdressers, barbers and nail bars to re-open on July 6, Executive confirms

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Hairdressers, barbers and nail bars will be allowed to re-open in Northern Ireland from July 6, the Executive has confirmed.

First Minister Arlene Foster says places of worship will be allowed to re-open for services, including weddings on June 29.

Childcare services will also now be available to all parents at the start of July.

Pupils in key year groups will also return to school on August 24.

Schools can also operate with a one-metre social distancing measure, allowing class sizes to return to almost normal levels.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann has announced plans to pause the shielding advice that was issued to people ahead of the Covid-19 peak in Northern Ireland.

From July 31, subject to the rate of community transmission continuing to be low, people will no longer need to shield and should instead follow the same guidance and precautions as those considered to be generally vulnerable.

That involves taking particular care when out and about – and strictly maintaining social distancing.

Letters will be issued in the coming days to all those covered by shielding informing them of the planned change.

Mr Swann stated: “I have been clear that shielding would not last one minute longer than it needed to. We have now reached the point where, if the current trends continue, there will be no need for anyone to shield after 31 July.

“I have listened to many of you and to the challenges you have faced during this period. I am in no doubt as to the difficulties shielding has presented for a great many people.

“It is unrealistic to think these difficulties will just vanish because the need to shield has ended. That is why the letters we issue will provide details of the support which will continue to be available up to and after 31 July.”

Earlier the Department of Health revealed there were no new Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland in the past 24 hours, keeping the total at 543, with only one new positive case confirmed in that time.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 now stands at 4,863.

The current estimate of the R number is 0.6 – 0.9 enabling the Executive to ease some further restrictions.

As of June 16, the seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8.

The Executive has indicated that keeping R below 1 is a key objective as we move forward in the epidemic.

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