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The Executive has today announced a further relaxation to the Coronavirus Regulations that will allow indoor visits to take place.

Indoor meetings of up to six people can take place from tomorrow, 23 June.

Indoor environments are still higher risk than outdoor meetings. Therefore this easement is accompanied by strong public health advice to limit the duration of visits; ensure good ventilation; maintain good hand hygiene; and practice social distancing where possible. The use of a face covering is also strongly advised.

The relaxation does not permit overnight stays and those who are medically shielding are strongly advised to continue following the advice that remains in place for that group until the shielding period is paused on 31 July.

This easement makes provision for informal childcare arrangements between families and friends to resume.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The restrictions we have all been living with for the past three months have been an enormous burden borne by every member of our society. The limitations on our ability to meet loved ones has been particularly hard to bear.

“The Executive did not take decisions to limit contact lightly, and we have been giving detailed consideration over the last number of weeks as to how and when we could safely facilitate greater contact between families and friends.

“Given the latest scientific evidence and medical advice on transmission rates of the virus, we are now in a position to relax the Regulations to enable meetings indoors. This will be on the basis of no more than six individuals meeting together at any one time and all public health advice being followed.

“We know how tempting it will be to embrace one another when people come back together in a home environment, but we must urge you to continue to stay apart, even while indoors.”