It looks like Northern Ireland will have its very own ‘Freedom Day’ as the government has announced that they’re going to get rid of key restrictions on 31 October. They will be abolishing the mandatory one-metre social distancing rule inside hospitality venues like restaurants, cafés, pubs, and bars. Furthermore, they’re bringing the nightlife back to the country asnightclubs will be allowed to open on the same day as well.
As per the information published on their official website, people will have the freedom to ‘move around’ indoor hospitality venues and will not be legally required to keep a one-metre distance. They are still being advised to follow social distancing protocol regardless. Authorities have also lifted the ban on dancing. First Minister Paul Givan announced that face coverings may be required in certain areas. He said:
I’m pleased that by the end of October we will have had restrictions on a wide range of issues completed at that point.
There will be three areas left; that will be the wearing of face coverings in some limited areas, when it comes to the retention of risk assessments and also the retention of data around visitors to venues and hospitality.
They will be low-level mitigation measures which will stay in law, there will be guidance when it comes to a lot of the sectors that are operating across our society and economy that will remain in place in a voluntary guidance format.
Changes are also being implemented on 14 October as the Executive has agreed to relax restrictions on the number of people that are allowed to gather inside a household. They stated:
Further relaxations around the numbers permitted in private dwellings and a move away from the maximum number of people allowed to gather from 15 from four households to an overall cap of 30.
Additionally, people will no longer be required to be seated when attending a performance in an indoor venue.