COVID-19 information and advice

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Information and advice 

Members of the public should keep checking our website for the latest updates on services and facilities at this time along with our Facebook and Twitter channels.

For further information and guidance about coronavirus go to the Public Health Agency or NI Direct.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance: what the restrictions mean for you

Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, additional restrictions remain in place for people in Northern Ireland. These new restrictions are in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and to help manage the pressures on our health and social care system. During this time, the single most important action we can all take is to stay at home.

The current regulations are in place until April 1st, but will be reviewed on March 18th.

Stay at home

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the health service and save lives. No-one may leave their home without reasonable excuse.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home:

to get basic necessities, including food and medical supplies
to take exercise
to visit your bubble
to visit hospital, GP and other medical appointments
to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance
to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
to access education or childcare
to attend to the care and exercise of an animal
to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
to donate blood
to attend a place of worship
to attend a funeral or wedding

A full list of circumstances will be included in the regulations.

Visits to food shops, pharmacies and other essential stores should be limited and as infrequent as possible. Be organised and only buy what you need. You do not need to stockpile goods as supply chains are secure.

Households

Households are not allowed to mix indoors in private homes. Certain exemptions apply, including:

bubbling with one other household
childcare
building or maintenance work
the services of trades or professions (close contact services are not allowed)
providing care or assistance, including social services, to a vulnerable person
giving or receiving legal advice or assistance, or fulfilling a legal obligation
providing emergency or medical assistance to any person
a house move, and to do associated activities for that purpose, including viewing properties and making arrangements for removals
a marriage or civil partnership where one of the couple is terminally ill

Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes as normal.

Gardens

Up to six people from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing.

Children aged 12 and under are not counted in this total.

Household bubbles

You can form one bubble with one other household.

The two households in the bubble can be of any size, however indoor meetings between households in the bubble are limited to a maximum of 10 people, including children, at any one time.

To contain the risk of spreading the virus, a household cannot be part of more than one bubble. Therefore, members of the two households within a bubble will not be permitted to have close contact with visitors from a third household. They should maintain social distancing from people outside of their bubble.

If anyone within your bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble should self-isolate.

Particular care needs to be taken if any member is regarded as a vulnerable person in terms of the virus, which may include the elderly or those with other health conditions.

If a household wishes to change the household that they bubble with, the household must wait 10 days from the last visit of the original linked household before starting a new bubble with another household.

Overnight stays

An overnight stay in a private home is not allowed unless it is a member of your bubble.

Exemptions, including for emergency reasons, are detailed in the regulations.

Indoor and outdoor gatherings (excluding private dwellings, weddings, and funerals)

Up to six people (including children of all ages) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors, or in non-domestic indoor settings for an essential purpose. You should maintain social distancing by being at least two metres apart, as well as good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.

You may not organise, operate or participate in an indoor or outdoor gathering which consists of more than six people.

The following exemptions apply:

a gathering in a workplace, if it is not possible to work at home
a gathering to provide emergency or medical assistance to any person
blood donation and vaccine sessions
elite sports (not spectators)

 

Click here for the latest restrictions and what they mean for you, exemptions and more information