28/09/2021

Social Distancing Removed For Retail And Indoor Venues

The Executive has agreed to remove the need for social distancing in shops and indoor venues, while asking those responsible for these venues, and those attending them, continue to utilise all other available mitigations such as hand sanitising, good ventilation, and using one way systems where possible.

The measures will be advice and not legal requirements, while the wearing of a face covering remains a legal requirement in these settings.

The Executive has also decided to remove the requirement to socially distance in indoor seated venues such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas. For this sector the Executive advise that additional mitigating measures are utilised, including proof of being fully vaccinated, or proof of a negative lateral flow rapid test, or proof of natural immunity from a positive PCR test undertaken in the previous 30-180 days.

The Executive said: "The use of additional mitigations becomes even more important in the absence of social distancing and are vital to ensuring a safer, sustainable reopening to full capacity. Whilst the legal requirement for social distancing is being removed, we would ask people to keep close face to face contact to a minimum at all times.
News Image
"We know from our engagement with the arts, culture and events sectors that a number of venues and event organisers have already been limiting access to those who are fully vaccinated or can show the necessary test results. We welcome this approach and appreciate the willingness of the sector to work with us to achieve a safer reopening.

"The issue of social distancing in the hospitality sector will be considered at our meeting next week along with our autumn winter Covid Contingency Planning. We will continue our engagement with this sector as we approach the decision points relevant to them.

"We would also like to remind the public that free lateral flow Rapid COVID-19 tests are freely available to the public. Alongside other mitigations, including social distancing, having good ventilation, washing hands and wearing face coverings, regular rapid testing can help to keep all our businesses open, and family and friends safer this winter. The tests are simple to use and provide results within 30 minutes."

Many businesses are establishing rapid testing schemes to support a safe return to the workplace. If you cannot access rapid tests through your school or workplace, rapid tests can be ordered online for home delivery or collected from community pharmacies and other locations. Rapid tests are only for those with no symptoms. Anyone with COVID symptoms should self-isolate and book a PCR test immediately.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 October 2021
Eviction Protection For Social Housing Tenants Extended
Social housing tenants will not face eviction if they are in rent arrear because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced. A voluntary agreement was put in place at start of the pandemic between the Department for Communities, Housing Executive and Housing Associations.
16 September 2002
Larne test centre receives top quality award
Management and staff of the Driver & Vehicle Testing Agency’s Larne Test Centre have received a top award in recognition of their achievements from Environment Minister Dermot Nesbitt today.
18 October 2021
New Intermediate Rent Proposed To Increase Housing Options
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has proposed a new affordable rent model in an effort to increase affordable housing options. A public consultation on the proposal looks at the introduction of Intermediate Rent. Launching the consultation, Minister Hargey said: "Access to housing is a fundamental right.
27 January 2005
Headlamp beam test to be introduced for MOT test
Environment Minister Angela Smith today confirmed that a new headlamp beam test is to be introduced into the MOT from the end of March. Commenting on the test, the Minister said the new examination would be expected to improve road safety.
04 December 2008
Motorbiker Minister Launches Test
A Stormont Minister who is well known for his passion for motorcycling has today leapt into the saddle to test drive a new NI test for motorcyclists.