Social Distancing

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 4th May 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 4th May 2021

I have not always agreed with Boris Johnson's approach to the COVID crisis. We make our decisions on the basis of advice from our public health team, and, at this time, there is no advice to suggest that this is an area in which we should make a change. Ultimately, that is where we want to get to, but it has to be done in a safe and steady way. It has to be done in a way that does not walk us into a corner from which we will have to reverse. We want to make sure that we make steady progress. Risks are still out there, and there are new variants. We need to be very careful. Let us continue to make progress and build on the positivity of where we are with the vaccination programme.

From an economic point of view, we understand that, in order to make hospitality businesses, for example, sustainable and profitable, they need to be able to get back to the numbers that they had prior to COVID. We want to get them there, too, but it will take a bit of time. We need to continue to make progress and take a steady-as-you-go approach over the next number of months.