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New NI COVID-19 Restrictions Come Into Effect For 4 Weeks

The NI Executive has agreed a range of significant time-bound interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland.

The following measures will come into regulatory effect for a period of 4 weeks from 6pm on Fri 16th Oct 2020.

The NI Executive will reconvene tomorrow to outline what additional support may be available for those businesses impacted by this announcement today.

Businesses will be permitted to open on Friday 16th Oct 2020.

  • Maintenance of current household restrictions. This means a continuation of the restriction on meeting indoors and a limit on the number who can meet in a garden. There are existing exemptions for childcare and maintenance etc which would stay in place. However, as lose contact economy is proposed for closure, it would be consistent with that to prohibit the provision for those services (eg) hairdressing in a domestic setting.
  • Bubbling to be limited to a maximum of 10 people from 2 households.
  • No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble.
  • Work from home unless unable to do so.
  • In guidance, Universities and further education to deliver distance learning to the maximum extent possible with only essential face to to face learning where that is a necessary and unavoidable part of the course.
  • Closure of hospitality sector apart from deliveries and takeaways for food, with the existing closing time of 11pm remaining. Other takeaway premises will then be brought in line with hospitality with a closing time of 11pm.
  • Retail will stay open. However, there will be urgent engagement with the sector to ensure that retail is doing everything it can to help suppress the virus.
  • Closure of close contact services apart from those meeting essential health needs which will be defined in the regulations to ensure continuation of essential health interventions and therapeutics. This will not be include complimentary treatments.
  • No indoor sport of any kind or organised contact sport involving household mixing other than at elite level.
  • No mass events involving more than 15 people (except for allowed outdoor sporting events where the relevant number for that will continue to apply).
  • Gyms may remain open but for individual training only with local enforcement in place.
  • Places of worship to remain open with a mandatory requirement to wear face coverings when entering and exiting. This will not apply to parties to a marriage or civil partnership.
  • Wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships to be limited to 25 people with no receptions. This will be implemented on Monday 19th October. Venues providing the post-ceremony or partnership celebration may remain open for this purpose this weekend but may not provide other services for people who are not part of the wedding or partnership and this will be limited to 25 people.
  • Funerals and committals to be limited to 25 people with no pre or post-funeral gatherings.
  • In guidance, no unnecessary travel will be advised.
  • Off licences and supermarkets will not be permitted to sell alcohol after 8pm.
  • The above restrictions should apply for 4 weeks and the continuations or amendment of any element would require NI Executive approval.
  • In Education, the half term holiday break will be extended from 19th to 30th October with schools reopening on Monday 2nd November. To permit this the Department of Education will allocate to schools two of the Operational Days and the remainder of the additional time through Exceptional Closure Days.

These new restrictions should apply for 4 weeks and the continuations or amendment of any element would require NI Executive approval.