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The Executive has today agreed further relaxations to restrictions as part of its Coronavirus recovery pathway.


The Executive also agreed a fresh set of regulations for the purpose of retaining those restrictions and requirements that are considered still to be necessary.

It is intended that the Health Minister will make the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (“The No. 2 Regulations”) this evening, to come into effect on July 24. The new regulations retain the general restriction limiting gatherings to 30 participants, with a number of general categories of exception to this limit.

Ministers also agreed to legislate to take the power to make the use of face coverings mandatory in a number of indoor settings. This will not be implemented immediately. A publicity campaign will encourage the wearing of face coverings, and the Executive will consider the impact of this campaign at its meeting on August 20. If there has not been a significant increase in the use of face coverings by this stage, the Executive will implement the power to make this mandatory.

The Executive has agreed to write to both the British and Irish Governments calling for a special summit of the British Irish Council to be convened to discuss Covid travel issues and the Common Travel Area. It was also agreed that updated travel advice would be published on www.nidirect.gov.uk.(external link opens in a new window / tab)


Ministers have confirmed the following relaxations which are made in the expectation of all relevant public health advice being followed. From tomorrow, July 24:

  • The maximum number of people who can gather in a residential setting will increase from six to 10, with a requirement that they come from no more than four different households and an expectation that social distancing and other public health advice is observed;
  • Overnight stays in a different household will be enabled;
  • Community centres and halls will be enabled to reopen;
  • Spectators will be enabled to attend outdoor competitive games with numbers to be determined by the venue in line with public health advice;
  • Swimming pools in leisure centres, hotels and private facilities will be enabled to open;
  • Wet treatments in spas, such as saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools will be permitted to resume;
  • Bowling alleys will be enabled to reopen;
  • Indoor and outdoor funfairs will be enabled to reopen.

The Executive has also agreed an indicative date of August 10 for the reopening of indoor pubs and bars selling only drink (wet pubs). This relaxation will be ratified in advance of the indicative date depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation at that time.