Video report by Barbara McCann
Guidance surrounding travel during the Christmas break and following six-week lockdown has been published by the Executive.
Between 23 and 27 December, people in Northern Ireland can travel to meet their Christmas bubble for one day only.
For a week beginning on the 26 December, however, a ‘stay at home curfew’ will be in place from 8pm to 6am each day, with exceptions only for specifically defined purposes.
People are advised to only travel within Northern Ireland, as well in and out of the country, when it is essential to do so.
Essential travel includes but is not restricted to:
returning home, if you are away from your permanent place of residence
work, where you cannot work from home
accessing health and social care services
accessing critical services including education, childcare, or services to victims
fulfilling essential caring responsibilities
buying essential goods or services within your local area
attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services
fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or participating in legal proceedings
to provide emergency response services
Those arriving into Northern Ireland from within the Common Travel Area and planning to remain in the country for at least 24 hours will now be required to self-isolate for ten days.
For clarity, the Common Travel Area includes Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
The guidance states, however, that people who routinely cross the border for essential purposes are not subject to these requirements. Those who are travelling for health or social care, or to provide an emergency service are also not subject to the requirements but are advised to consult with their employer before travelling or attending work. Household members are not required to self-isolate, however extra care must be taken to follow the guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.
The guidance also permits someone to leave self-isolation in order to leave Northern Ireland, should their intended stay be shorter than 10 days.
Those travelling to or from Northern Ireland are also subject to the rules of where they are travelling to and from.