Update 14 October:
The Northern Ireland Executive agreed a range of significant time-bound interventions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland that will be in effect from Friday 16 October for four weeks.
Key information within the new guidelines includes:
- Closure of the hospitality sector apart from deliveries and takeaways for food, with the existing closing time of 11.00pm remaining.
- Other takeaway premises will be brought in line with hospitality with a closing time of 11.00pm
- Indoor museums, visitor attractions and many leiaures businesses are to close.
- Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are to close. There are exceptions for those already resident; for work-related purposes; for vulnerable people; for those in emergency situations; and people unable to return to their main address. The regulations do not affect self-catering accommodation.
A full list of the business affected by the new restrictions is available from Tourism Northern Ireland.
A full list of all changes to COVID-19 restrictions can be found on NIDirect.gov.uk.
Operating safely during COVID-19
As part of the Northern Ireland Executive’s Roadmap to Recovery, the Department for the Economy, in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, has published a range of guides to help businesses and operators within the tourism and hospitality sectors to reopen and operate safely during coronavirus. The guidance is intended to assist owners/operators to make decisions that will enable them to operate as safely as possible for both their staff and customers.
The guidance will help businesses to develop action plans to operate safely according to the type, nature and size of operations – this will include the requirement to undertake risk assessments in order to identify potential hazards and make alterations to ensure the safety of both customers and staff. It is important that all businesses continue to comply with their existing statutory obligations.
An overarching guide to working safely in the visitor economy has been published, and specific guides have been created for a variety of businesses operating in the tourism industry:
- Hotels and accommodation
- Restaurants, bars and pubs (including advice on contact tracing)
- Attractions and venues
- Tour guides
Tourism NI has also established a dedicated telephone line service and online enquiry facility for tourism industry. Call 028 9592 5313 (Mon-Fri, 10am – 4pm), or visit tourismni.com.
Sign up to new 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 now 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.
Other Useful Links
- Northern Ireland Hotel Federation: nihf.co.uk/coronavirus-updates
- Hospitality Ulster: hospitalityulster.org/support/HU-Guidance-On-Coronavirus
Government Guidance and Financial Support
- Risk Assessment Tools (Health and Safety Executive: hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm
- Food Standards Agency: food.gov.uk/business-guidance/reopening-checklist-for-food-businesses-during-covid-19
- NI Direct: nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
- Support to Businesses: gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support or nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business