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Northern Ireland reopens: What are the rules?

Hospitality venues in Northern Ireland have finally welcomed customers back indoors after months of lockdown.

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars across the country have reopened their doors customers and non-essential travel can now resume.

What are the rules?

  • There are mitigations in place: Tables are limited to six people from six households and they will be required to provide personal details for contact tracing.
  • No dancing or live music is permitted.
  • Six people from two households can meet inside a home, with up to 10 people allowed if one household is bigger than six people. Children under 12 do not count towards the total.
  • Overnight stays will be permitted.
  • Gatherings of people outdoors in public parks and spaces are capped at 500 participants, or if lower based on a risk assessment by the venue if more than 30 people are in attendance.
  • People in Northern Ireland are permitted to visit family and friends in other parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, known as the Common Travel Area.
  • Hotels, B&Bs and other travel and tourism venues to reopen.
  • Post wedding and civil partnership receptions permitted, with no restriction on top table but restriction of 10 at other tables.
  • Removal of stay local message.
  • Schools can resume extra-curricular activities, with indoor sports and outdoor inter-schools sports allowed.
  • Indoor visitor attractions can reopen with mitigations, including amusement arcades, bingo halls, museums, galleries and cinemas.
  • Libraries can reopen.
  • Indoor group exercise and training can resume, including soft play areas, leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, equestrian centres, venues relating to motor sport and activity centres.
  • Increase in number allowed for indoor (non-domestic) gatherings, subject to venue risk assessment

First Minister Arlene Foster urged people to remain careful, saying:

“We’re very pleased to have reached this point in our journey coming out of Covid restrictions and of course we’re asking people to be sensible, but also to enjoy the newfound freedoms that they have.”