Update 16 April
The Northern Ireland Executive has outlined its pathway to a gradual easing of the current coronavirus restrictions.
The plan sets out a step-by-step approach to the relaxation of the current regulations, as well as regular review dates to decide when restrictions can be eased.
Significant easing of restrictions was announced on 15 April, and the next review date is 13 May.
Below is information on a number of sectors, detailing current restrictions and dates for relaxations. A summary of the current restrictions can be found here. A full list of all COVID-19 restrictions can be found on NIDirect.gov.uk,or NI Business Info.
Current restrictions include:
- Only essential retail may remain fully open, but all retail businesses are permitted to operate click and collect services.
- Essential retailers may only offer off-sales until 8pm.
- Hospitality businesses can only provide takeaway or delivery services until 11pm.
- Hotels and tourist accommodation providers must close, with exemptions for emergency accommodation.
- Visitor attractions and leisure activity providers are not permitted to open (however, sports facilities and golf clubs are allowed to operate without access to clubhouses and indoor facilities)
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to ten people from a maximum of two households. This includes children.
From 23 April:
- Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen.
From 30 April:
- All shops can reopen fully.
- Hospitality businesses can reopen for outdoor eating and drinking. Six people from up to two households will be permitted to dine together.
- Caravan parks and self-contained accommodation can reopen.
- Curfews for off-sales and takeaways will be removed.
- Outdoor gatherings can take place with up to 15 people from three households.
From 24 May (please note, this is an indicative date)
- Indoor hospitality can recommence. This includes restaurants, cafes and pubs
- All tourist accommodation will be permitted to reopen
- Indoor visitor attractions can reopen
Advice and guidance on operating safely
Sign up to ‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard with Tourism NI and national counterparts across the UK.
Tourism NI and the national tourism bodies of England, Scotland and Wales have rolled out a new UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide reassurance to businesses, customers and communities that safe working guidelines around COVID-19 have been adopted.
The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark allows businesses to sign-up and commit to implementing the relevant Government and public health guidance, including undertaking a COVID-19 risk assessment. Businesses can in turn use the licensed mark as part of their communications.
The free scheme is open to tourism businesses.
To get the mark, businesses need to complete a registration process through the ‘We’re Good to Go’ online platform goodtogoni.com and will go through a number of steps to verify they have put the necessary processes in place to re-open safely.
Businesses will then receive a certificate and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online.
Businesses across the UK will be agreeing to operate in accordance with their respective national guidance, including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place.
In Northern Ireland, businesses should align with the ‘Working Safely During Covid-19 in the Visitor Economy’ guidance above, as well as the legislative regulations and restrictions set out by the NI Executive.
A benefit of participating in the standard includes a notification system to alert businesses to any changes to the official guidance. A call-handling service will also provide registration support.
Accommodation, visitor attractions, restaurants and pubs, business conference and events venues and tour and coach operators are currently eligible to apply. For further information on the standard visit: covid19.tourismni.com/goodtogo.
COVID Aware verification mark
Belfast City Council has developed a COVID Aware Scheme, which aims to assure customers that retailers are aware of and complying with the NI Executive’s regulations and public health COVID-19 guidance.
The scheme is currently only open to retail businesses, and more detail is available on the Belfast City Council website.
Operating safely during COVID-19
The NI Executive has created a guide for tourism and hospitality business to help them operate safely during COVID-19, available to view here.