16 Oct 2020

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

Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, additional restrictions have been introduced for people living in Northern Ireland. These new restrictions have been put in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and to help manage the pressures on our health and social care system.

Guidance for the Hospitality and Visitor Economy Sector is available here.

NI Direct has published regulations guidance: what the restrictions mean for you.  You can view the full guidance here.

The full regulations are available on the Department of Health website click here.


The regulations were introduced on 16 October 2020 and will be in place for four weeks.

Hospitality and accommodation

Bars, restaurants, coffee shops

Hospitality venues can only remain open for takeaway and delivery of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Businesses providing takeaway services must close at 11.00 pm.

Hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts

Hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments will only be able to operate on a restricted basis. Accommodation can be provided for those already resident; for work-related purposes; for vulnerable people; for those in emergency situations; and people unable to return to their main address.

Food and non-alcoholic drinks can be provided to residents staying for permitted purposes, but bars will be required to close.

Self-catering accommodation

Self-catering and rented accommodation can remain open, however only members of one household or bubble are permitted to stay together.

Campsites and caravan parks

Access to static caravans remains open, however campsites and services for touring caravans must close.

Leisure activities and cultural attractions

Indoor museums, galleries, vistor and other cultural attractions are not permitted to open.

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, cinemas, inflatable parks, escape rooms, trampoline parks, amusement arcades, skating rinks and funfairs are not permitted to open.

A full list of businesses is defined in the regulations(external link opens in a new window / tab).

Outdoor attractions, country parks and forest parks can remain open.

Libraries are allowed to provide 'call and collect' services, and access to the internet.

Cookery schools can remain open, subject to risk-assessments and with appropriate safety measures in place.

Soft play areas can remain open, subject to risk-assessments and with appropriate safety measures in place.


Individuals should work from home unless unable to do so.

Retail and services

Close contact services

Close contact services, such as hairdressers, beauticians, make-up and nails, tattoo and piercing parlours, tanning shops, sports and massage therapy, electrolysis, well-being and holistic treatments, and driving instructors are not permitted to operate.

A full list of businesses and exceptions is defined in the regulations.

This also applies to those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people’s homes, delivering the close contact services detailed above in allied sectors such as the arts or entertainment, those in retail environments, as well as those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments.

Dressmakers, tailors and fashion designers can only operate if social distancing is maintained.

Close contact services relating to essential health needs, as defined in the regulations(external link opens in a new window / tab), can remain open, to make sure of the continuation of certain services such as, dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths, podiatry and other medical services, including services relating to mental health.


The retail sector remains open at this time.

Off-licences and supermarkets are not permitted to sell alcohol after 8.00 pm.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering when shopping or in a shopping centre.

As well as ordinary day-to-day shopping for items such as clothes, food or electrical goods, a face covering is required in any other indoor place where goods or services are available to buy or rent.

This includes, for example, a bookmakers, a bank, a food takeaway business, or a dry cleaner.

People who work in relevant places must also wear a face covering, unless they are separated from members of the public by a partition. This includes, for example, someone stacking shelves in a supermarket.