Hairdressers and cafés will reopen across Northern Ireland today – before shutting down again next week.
The Stormont Executive last night announced a new two-week ‘Circuit-Breaker’ lockdown.
Non-essential retail, which has remained open throughout the restrictions imposed five weeks ago, will shut from next Friday.
Hairdressers and cafés, which were closed in recent weeks, will be allowed to open this week before closing down again on Friday.
Pubs and restaurants have been shut for five weeks and will now not open until Friday December 11th.
It comes after the Northern Health Minister Robin Swann said hospitals would be overwhelmed without increased action.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said it was a “difficult but necessary” decision to introduce the new restrictions.
“The Executive has decided to introduce restrictions from November 27th for a two-week period,” she said.
“During this time, we need you to stay at home and minimise physical contact with others and also to work from home where you can.”
Ms O’Neill said there is hope on the horizon with a new rapid-testing scheme to be rolled out across the North in the coming weeks.
“This is a dark time but there is hope ahead that we can break the hold of this virus,” she said.
“Vaccines are now at an advanced stage of development. We are developing a rapid-testing programme across the North and, with an enhanced find, test, trace and protect programme with enhanced supports for those who have to isolate, I believe we have a way forward.”
The decision was reached last night after it became clear the North’s hospitals were on the brink.
The DUP backed the extension of measures - despite twice vetoing restrictions last week.