What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

This explainer article details the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan. Last changed on Thursday 15 October 2020, this article is no longer being updated. Please refer to the NI Direct website for information about the latest restrictions.

[This article was originally part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project—a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. The project’s aim was to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which would increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

What is the Northern Ireland circuit breaker?

On 14 October 2020, The Executive Office published an update to the list of regulatory (enforceable) measures as well as additional health guidance.

For a period of four weeks, starting at 6pm on Friday 16 October, the following will be in effect:

    • Support bubbles are limited to 10 people from two households
    • No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble
    • Hospitality sector to close (except for takeaway/delivery)
    • Fast food to close nightly at 11pm
    • No sale of alcohol (in off-licences and supermarkets) after 8pm
    • Retail remains open with emphasis on mitigations
    • No mass events involving more than 15 people
    • No close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians (health needs excluded)
    • No indoor sport; no organised outdoor sport involving mixing of households (exception for elite athletes)
    • Gyms open for individual training only
    • Churches remain open (face masks mandatory on entering/leaving)
    • Funerals limited to 25 people with no gatherings before or afterwards
    • Weddings limited to 25 people (from Monday 19 October)
    • Advised not to travel unnecessarily
    • Advised to work from home
    • Universities and further education advised to deliver distance learning as much as possible

In addition, the school half term holiday will be extended, beginning on Monday 19 October and reopening on Monday 2 November.

Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

CLAIM: About 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast are HMOs. 

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. FactCheckNI has estimated that 45% of properties in the Holylands are licensed as HMOs, and Belfast City Council report a figure of 40% for the larger Botanic, Holylands and Rugby policy area. Continue reading Are 95% or 98% of all households in the Holylands area of Belfast HMOs?

Does Belfast/Good Friday Agreement forbid cross-border barriers?

CLAIM: The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement does not forbid the provision of barrier controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement does not exclude governments’ border measures, but aims for ‘normal security arrangements’. The UK Withdrawal Agreement seeks to minimise physical border controls. Continue reading Does Belfast/Good Friday Agreement forbid cross-border barriers?

Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

CLAIM: “One in four NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’”

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The research behind the News Letter headline was conducted across the UK and the results were not broken down by region, so this UK finding cannot be applied to Northern Ireland without further area-specific evidence.

Continue reading Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

Do over 95% of south Belfast residents own their own home?

CLAIM: Over 95% of people living in south Belfast own their own home.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The 2011 Census shows that the Belfast South constituency recorded 56.1% of homes being owned outright or owned with a mortgage or loan. Continue reading Do over 95% of south Belfast residents own their own home?

Has levy removed 1.2 billion carrier bags?

CLAIM: There are 1.2 billion fewer carrier bags distributed in Northern Ireland since the introduction of the carrier bag levy in 2012.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE: Data from annual reports from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) calculates a cumulative reduction of the dispensing of 1,230,620,479 carrier bags. Continue reading Has levy removed 1.2 billion carrier bags?