24th of May onwards, non-essential travel from Northern Ireland to other sections of the Common Travel Area (CTA) will be permitted. If people have visited relatives or friends in other areas of the CTA, they would not be forced to self-isolate when they return to Northern Ireland. The UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man make up the CTA.
The Northern Ireland Executive has also announced that restrictions on indoor hospitality and sporting activities will be eased in the near future.
Stormont had previously only advised that people from Northern Ireland could travel to the CTA for “necessary” reasons. Travelers who arrive in Northern Ireland but have completed mandatory quarantine “at a point of entry elsewhere in the CTA” will no longer be required to self-isolate as of May 24.
Those who are excluded from self-isolation will be required to take lateral flow tests for Covid-19 prior to departure, as well as on days two and eight after arriving in Northern Ireland, according to the guidance.
Ministers decided that up to 500 people would attend outdoor sporting activities as spectators starting on May 24, a target date. The Irish Cup final, which will be held on May 21 at Mourneview Park in Lurgan, County Armagh, will be open to up to 1,000 fans.
Among the new regulations, some of them are mentioned below:
- Schools will be able to play sports against each other starting on May 24.
- Libraries and museums will be allowed to reopen on the same day, and the remain local notice will be withdrawn.
- Indoor hospitality will be allowed to resume on the 24th of May, with a maximum of six people per table from a maximum of six households, or up to ten people if all are from the same household.
- Indoor sports practises, as well as wedding receptions and post-funeral activities, will be permitted to resume on the same date for sports squads.
- Plans to relax restrictions on May 24 would require final approval on May 20.
- Increased numbers allowed for indoor meetings – not including domestic settings – to enable community activities such as mother-and-toddler groups to resume are among the other easing steps.
- Starting on May 24, up to six individuals from no more than two households will be permitted to meet in private homes, with children under the age of 12 not being included in the number.
- Overnight stays will be permitted as well.
- Northern Ireland’s shopping, outdoor hospitality, and self-contained visitor accommodation have all reopened.
- The executive has set a tentative reopening date of June 21 for theatres and concert halls, but this will be reviewed by the executive closer to the time in accordance with public health advice.
- Last summer, theatres were permitted to resume rehearsals, but not to welcome back audiences.
The announcement, according to Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts, is “welcome steps toward the complete reopening of our local high streets and our broader economy.”
“As we move forward, we continue to encourage shoppers and tourists to our town centers to follow medical advice in order to reduce virus transmission,” he said.