Members of Belfast City Council have agreed that leisure centres and community centres should be closed until further notice in response to Covid-19.
Councillors also agreed to close St George’s Market, as well as the ICC Belfast and Ulster Hall.
The matter was discussed by Members during a Special Meeting of Council to discuss the current circumstances around the coronavirus outbreak and any further actions Council should take.
It was agreed that Council would look at arrangements for employees to work from home, where possible, whilst maintaining critical services for ratepayers including waste collection and cremations and burials.
City Hall will remain open for registration of births, deaths and marriages.
In light of the unprecedented circumstances and the rapidly changing picture, Members have suspended all standing committees until such times that a majority of councillors agree that normal governance procedures should be resumed. During this time the Chief Executive will have delegated authority to make decisions in consultation with Party Group Leaders.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Daniel Baker said: “We know this is a time of great concern and worry for people and that is understandable; this is a really challenging time for all of us and we are dealing with something which is unprecedented.
“I want to reassure our residents that Council is committed to helping protect public health where we can. As Elected Members it is important that we continue to remind people to follow public health guidance, take personal responsibility and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.
“I also want to assure residents that Council is working behind the scenes to ensure the delivery of essential services, such as waste collections and burials and cremations. We have emergency preparedness and business continuity planning in place for delivery of critical services during any emergency, or in the event of a major public health issue such as this.”
Councillor Baker added: “We’re seeing lots of acts of kindness and community spirit which is really encouraging and I would urge people to keep up that community spirit. It’s so important that we look out for each other, pull together as a community and take care of our family and neighbours – especially those who are old or vulnerable.
Today’s meeting follows agreement by Councillors last Friday to take a number of measures to help manage operational and cleaning resources across Council facilities in response to Covid-19.
City Hall has closed to the public with public tours suspended and the visitor exhibition has also closed. The building remains open for registration of births, deaths and marriages.
A number of other Council facilities are also closed until further notice including Belfast Zoo, the Tropical Ravine and Palm House at Botanic Gardens, pitches and pavilions. Belfast Castle and Malone House are also closed to the public until further notice. For more info, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/covid19