I spoke with First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill on Friday, 5 June, when I briefed them on the Government plans for the second phase of easing the Covid related restrictions from 8 June as set out in the roadmap.
I advised them of our plans to condense the five-phase roadmap into a four-phase plan, allowing us to move out of lockdown at a faster pace than previously planned, and our intention for the domestic tourism sector and some hospitality operators to resume from 29 June. I also informed them that our retail stores were to open from Monday, 8 June and a series of other measures, originally envisaged for later phases of the plan, were being given the green light from 8 June. They were also informed that further work will be carried out in the coming days and weeks to determine which actions will take place in each phase.
We also discussed ongoing North South co-operation on dealing with Covid and the Memorandum of Understanding agreed to underpin and strengthen North South co-operation on the public health response to the pandemic.
There is ongoing North South and East West engagement on Covid responses across government at both political and official level. We will continue to seek opportunities for common or similar approaches to managing Covid, where that would be beneficial.