First Minster Arlene Foster has today (Tuesday) announced a curfew on all hospitality venues in Northern Ireland as of midnight on Wednesday September 30.

Customers will have to place last orders by 10.30pm and customers must leave the premises by 11pm.

There will be no exceptions for weddings or social gatherings.

Mrs. Foster announced the changes in Stormont this morning and said: "Building on the measures already in place, the Executive agreed last Thursday that a closing time of 11.00pm should be applied to the hospitality sector. This will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday 30 September 2020, and apply to those parts of the hospitality sectors subject to current regulations, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as hotel and guest house bars.

"No alcohol or food will be served after 10.30pm and all customers must leave by 11.00pm. In practice this brings the normal closing times forward by half an hour and there will be no late licences.

"The intention behind the earlier closing time is that socialising later in the evening is considered to increase the risk of virus spreading because people adhere to the rules less strictly after consuming alcohol and in venues where they are used to mixing freely.

"There can be no exceptions to this, so weddings and other important social events will also be required to comply."

Mrs Foster then added: "Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets in Northern Ireland already stop at 11.00pm. This will help ensure a consistent approach in border areas.

"Some will make the point that pubs and bars closing at 11.00pm will drive people to house parties and we recognise this risk. However, house parties and gatherings in our homes are illegal - the restrictions already in place ban people from more than one household to be in a private dwelling or more than six people from no more than two households to be in a private garden.

"The totality of the arrangements will be subject to enforcement. We do not want to go there, we would prefer that everyone works with us to impact the spread of the virus.

"But enforcement has a role, and we are working closely with the PSNI and local government to understand the issues from their perspectives and also the importance of community responses. Junior Ministers are working closely with PSNI and local government, and we will be looking at the fines levels we have here as a matter of priority."

The First Minister warned of further warnings and said: "We want to avoid more stringent measures. But we have been clear from the outset of this pandemic that we will put restrictions in place if we have to. We will do so carefully and with great thought to the social and economic impacts, but if we need to act, we will."