Current restrictions for tourism and hospitality businesses

Update 24 August 2021

Many coronavirus restrictions have eased in Northern Ireland however some regulations and guidance remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A full list of all COVID-19 restrictions can be found on NIDirect.gov.uk,or NI Business Info.

The following businesses are currently permitted to open with mitigations:

  • Visitor attractions
    • Indoor and outdoor attractions. including theatres, concert halls and other seated indoor venues are permitted to open
    • Contact details must be shared for contact tracing purposes.
    • Businesses must ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines where possible.
    • Minimum 1m social distancing for indoor attractions is required, outdoor attractions are strongly advised to implement social distancing (minimum 1m)
    • Entry to concerts, theatres and other types of performances will be by ticket only, purchased in advance.
  • Hospitality businesses
    • There are no longer any limits on table groupings.
    • Contact details must be shared for contact tracing purposes.
    • Social distancing requirement of at least 1m between tables.
    • Live music is permitted at ambient levels
  • Retail
    • All retail businesses can now reopen.
  • Accommodation
    • All tourist accommodation is now permitted to reopen.
    • Contact details must be shared for contact tracing purposes.
    • Up to 10 people from no more than three households can stay together overnight. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total.
    • Meeting rooms can be reopened, capacity subject to a risk assessment.
    • Weddings and receptions will be subject to a risk assessment,
    • Hospitality events (such as gala dinners) will also require a risk assessment and be subject to the same regulations as indoor hospitality.
  • Conferences and Exhibitions
    • Conferences and Exhibitions have been permitted since 16 August 2021. For advice on safely delivering a conference or business event, contact the Visit Belfast Business Development Team.

Current travel guidance for arrivals into Northern Ireland

Common Travel Area (CTA)

Anyone travelling to Northern Ireland from within the CTA, should take a lateral flow test (LFD) before travelling if they are planning on staying overnight. If the test is positive, you should not travel.

Visitors should also take an LFD on day two and day eight of their visit to Northern Ireland.

The “essential travel” requirement has been removed, and there are therefore no exemptions to this advice.

Click here for more information.

International travel

The NI Executive has published guidance for those arriving into Northern Ireland from international destinations, providing a red, amber and green list of countries. Please see here for full details, and click here to see the latest update to the red, amber and green lists.

Safety assurance and certification

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.

Additional Information