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NI Public urged to make safer choices to protect against COVID as restrictions ease

As Coronavirus restrictions further ease, First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill are urging everyone to keep following public health guidance and making safer choices to protect themselves and others. A series of relaxations will begin to roll out from today, October 14, with further easements taking effect from October 31. This will cover meeting up with friends and family indoors at home, as well as relaxations in hospitality and entertainment settings.

First Minister Paul Givan said:

“Over the next fortnight many of the last restrictions on how we socialise and engage together will be lifted. “This is an important point to reach, and it has taken a determined and combined effort across society to get us here. I’m proud of the powerful, positive community spirit and the shared determination to keep everyone as safe as possible. “While it is right that we take heart from the relaxations now allowed, we must also keep doing our bit to protect and drive on progress. This is about personal responsibility and whether you are a customer, worker, student or business owner, keep following the remaining rules when you are out and about.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said:

“With the support of the public, we have come a long way in our journey out of restrictions and we can all be encouraged by the cautious progress we have been able to make. “However, we need to remember that Coronavirus still poses a threat to lives, livelihoods and our health service, which is facing in to a very challenging autumn and winter period. “We have a collective responsibility to keep making the kind of choices that will keep our community as safe as possible. “I encourage everyone to do what you can to protect yourself and others; open windows and doors; wear a face covering. And the evidence speaks for itself - the single most important thing you can do is to get the vaccine if you have not already done so.” Relaxations taking effect from October 14 and October 31 are detailed here:

14 October relaxations

• Further relaxations around the numbers permitted in private dwellings and a move away from the maximum number of people allowed to gather from 15 from four households to an overall cap of 30.

• The requirement for audience members to be seated when watching performances in indoor venues will be removed.

• The regulations in relation to large house parties and raves will remain in place and are still not permitted.

31 October relaxations

• Allow people to move around hospitality premises and indoor venues, including being able to stand to have a drink and eat food.

• The restriction on indoor dancing will be lifted.

• The need to maintain social distancing in hospitality settings, such as pubs and restaurants will move to guidance. Whilst the legal requirement for social distancing will now be removed, people are asked to keep close face-to-face contact to a minimum at all times.

• Nightclubs will be permitted to reopen.


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