Coronavirus (COVID-19): regulations, guidance and what they mean for you

Information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations in Northern Ireland, the steps outlined in the recovery plan and also a timeline of the easing of restrictions.

About the regulations

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 became law and came into operation at 11.00 pm on 28 March 2020. 

The regulations and revisions are available on the Department of Health website.

Most of the COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland are in the regulations. These restrict individual movements, gatherings, and the operations of certain businesses and other organisations.

 Guidance on the restrictions and on what you can do to protect yourself and protect others is also available on the Department of Health website.

Relaxation of regulations and recovery plan

On 12 May 2020, the NI Executive published a five stage recovery plan to easing the current restrictions.

There are five steps outlined in the recovery plan for six different sectors. In making decisions, the NI Executive considers three key criteria:

  • the most up-to-date scientific evidence
  • the ability of the health service to cope
  • the wider impacts on our health, society and the economy

To date, the following has been agreed, where people can keep their distance (social distancing) and good hand hygiene. These are key elements to help stop the spread of the virus.

Key to symbols

  • Green tickRelaxation step taken
  • Grey tickRelaxation step confirmed
  • Orange XRelaxation step unconfirmed
  • Red XRelaxation date to be announced

 

Work

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenKey worker list
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRemote working (default position)
Step 1
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRemote working
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenSome on-site working
Step 2  
Step 3
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRemote working where possible
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenProperty market
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedPhased on-site return
Step 4  
Step 5
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedReturn to work on-site

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the work sector

Retail

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenFood retailers
Step 1
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenGarden centres
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRestaurants takeaway
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenCafes takeaway
Step 2
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenNon-food retail
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenShopping centres
Step 3  

 

Step 4
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenHairdressers
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenTattoo parlours
Step 5
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRestaurants
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenCafes
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenPubs

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the retail sector

Education

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenKey worker children
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenVulnerable children
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenRemote learning
Step 1  
Step 2
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenKey worker definition
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedIncreased capacity
Step 3
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedPriority opening
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedBlended learning
Step 4
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedOpen on a part-time basis
Step 5
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedFull-time school return

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the education sector

Travel

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenPublic transport limited capacity
Step 1  

 

Step 2
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenNon-essential trips
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedIncreased operation
Step 3  
Step 4
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedIncreased operation in rural areas
Step 5
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedFull service

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the travel sector

Family and community

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenHousehold contact
Step 1
  • Green tick - relaxation step taken4 to 6 people outdoors
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenDrive-through churches
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenChurches - private prayer
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenIndoor family visits
Step 2
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenGroups of 10 outdoors
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenSingle occupancy support bubble
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoor shielding social
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoor weddings of 10
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenChildcare in centres
Step 3
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenGroups of 30 outdoors
Step 4
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedWide range of gatherings
Step 5
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedExtended group gatherings

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the family and community sector

Sport, culture and leisure activites

Lockdown position
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenExercise permitted
Step 1
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoors spaces open
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenWalking / cycling
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenGolf / tennis
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenWater sports
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenDrive-through cinema
Step 2
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenElite athlete training
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenNon-contact training
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenSelected libraries
  • Orange X - relaxation date confirmedOpen-air museums
Step 3
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenMuseums / galleries open
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenNon-contact group training
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedLibraries open
  • Orange X - relaxation date confirmedConcert / theatre rehearsals
Step 4
  • Grey tick - relaxation date not reachedIndoor sports
  • Orange X - relaxation date confirmedLeisure centres
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenGym / fitness studios
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedOutdoor concerts
Step 5
  • Orange X - relaxation date confirmedCompetitive sports - behind closed doors
  • Green tick - relaxation step takenBingo and cinema
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedNightclubs
  • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedIndoor concerts

Find out more about  the relaxation of restrictions in the sport, culture and leisure activities sector

 

    Timeline for relaxation of restrictions

    Key to symbols

    • Green tickRelaxation step taken
    • Grey tickRelaxation step confirmed
    • Orange XRelaxation step unconfirmed
    • Red XRelaxation date to be announced

    Relaxation steps in date order

    • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoor sports facilities 8 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoor retailers 8 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenGroups of 10 outdoors 12 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenOther retail (non-essential shops) 12 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenLone residents can meet indoors 13 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenElite athletes outdoor facilities 15 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenHousing market 15 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step taken6 people indoors 23 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenTourism self-catering 26 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenPlaces of worship 29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenNon-urgent dental 29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenContact sport training29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenElite athletes indoor training 29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenParking charges re-introduced 29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenGroups of 30 outdoors 29 Jun 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenBetting shops 3 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenHospitality - private clubs, pubs (with food) and restaurants 3 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenMuseums and galleries 3 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenTourism 3 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenPersonal and salon services 6 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenClose contact services 6 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenIndoor gyms and fitness studios 10 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenOutdoor leisure playgrounds 10 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenWeddings and baptisms 10 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenBingo and cinemas open 10 Jul 2020
    • Green tick - relaxation step takenIndoor arcades 10 Jul 2020
    • Grey tickCompetitive sports behind closed doors 11 Jul 2020
    • Grey tickLibraries 16 Jul 2020
    • Grey tick - relaxation step confirmedIndoor sports and leisure centres 17 Jul 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedCompetitive sport with limited spectators 17 Jul 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedActive venues including snooker halls 29 Jul 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedSeated venues including theatres 29 Jul 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedOutdoor spectators - more permitted 31 Jul 2020
    • Orange XSoft play areas 7 Aug 2020
    • Grey tick - relaxation step confirmedTeaching staff 17 Aug 2020
    • Grey tick - relaxation step confirmedSchools return (certain year groups) 24 Aug 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedIndoor spectators (socially distanced) 28 Aug 2020
    • Orange X - relaxation step unconfirmedOpen air museums Late August
    • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedExtended group gatherings Date to be confirmed
    • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedOn-site working - return to work Date to be confirmed
    • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedOn-site working - phased approach Date to be confirmed
    • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedThird party household support group Date to be confirmed
    • Red X - relaxation date to be announcedWider range of gatherings Date to be confirmed

    Coronavirus regulations updates infographic

    All the agreed relaxations listed above are also available in the following infographic (select to expand):

    coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations graphic

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