Executive agrees to relax travel restrictions and outdoor social distancing rules

Belfast International Airport Pacemaker Press
Credit: UTV

The Stormont Executive has agreed to relax certain coronavirus travel restrictions.

Ministers agreed that international travellers from the USA or EU amber countries who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will no longer need to self-isolate.

The latest move brings Northern Ireland in line with the rest of UK where similar rules will come into force on Monday.

The powersharing executive has also agreed to allow Uefa VIP guests and Villarreal fans to travel to attend the Super Cup in Belfast on August 11 without the need to isolate.

Chelsea fans travelling from England for the showpiece match are already not subject to any travel restrictions.

International cruises can also visit Northern Ireland from 31st July under the new relaxations.

Managed isolation arrangements for international students arriving from red list countries ahead of the new academic term have also been approved. These arrangements will come into effect on August 9.

Ministers also signed off on a bespoke Covid-19 testing regime for international travellers whose jobs qualify them for isolation exemptions. This will come into effect on Monday.

Ministers have also decided to relax some of the rules and guidance around social distancing.

All indoor settings will apply a one-metre distance rule. This will bring retail and shopping centres, where a two-metre rule currently applies, into line with the regulation for other indoor venues such as hospitality outlets.

In outdoor settings, social distancing will not be a requirement. It will instead be strongly advised at a minimum of one metre, but ideally two metres.

Executive ministers have also extended a decision on allowing the full return of live music at theatres and concert venues to cover other indoor venues, such as hotel function rooms and community halls.

There will be no restriction on volume level.

Dancing will not be permitted at indoor events and a social distance of one metre will be required.

The Executive, however, decided to delay a decision on the restarting of conferences and exhibitions until a meeting on 12th August.

At that meeting, ministers will decide whether it should be compulsory for face masks to be worn by pupils in schools