Coronavirus: Relaxations for hospitality and indoor venues

News article

Coronavirus regulations set to change for hospitality premises and indoor venues

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a number of gradual and proportionate relaxations to the current coronavirus restrictions for the hospitality sector and indoor venues.

Relaxations from 14 October

As of 14 October 2021, the requirement for audience members to be seated when watching performances in indoor venues has been removed.

Relaxations from 31 October

From Sunday 31 October the following relaxations will be permitted, with mitigations in place:

  • People can move around hospitality premises and indoor venues, including being able to stand to have a drink and eat food.
  • The restriction on indoor dancing will be lifted.
  • The need to maintain social distancing in hospitality settings, such as pubs and restaurants will move to guidance. Whilst the legal requirement for social distancing will now be removed, people are asked to keep close face-to-face contact to a minimum at all times.
  • Nightclubs will be permitted to reopen.

Over the next few weeks, further work will be carried out with the sectors to prepare for appropriate mitigations to be put in place in advance of these regulations being lifted.


These relaxations rely on the adoption and implementation of measures that will help reduce the transmission of the virus and allow people to gather more safely in settings that would otherwise be considered higher risk. 

Extensive engagement has taken place with the arts, entertainment and hospitality sectors and there has been a positive response to taking additional steps to ensure the safety of customers, staff and the wider community.

It is strongly recommended that venues and event organisers require individuals to demonstrate one of the following:

  • proof of having been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks
  • proof of a negative PCR test or rapid lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of entry to a venue (a lateral flow test taken at home will need to be reported into the public reporting system
  • evidence of a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 within the previous 180 days and following completion of the self-isolation period

Some venues are already implementing these measures to help keep people safe and provide assurances to those attending their venues that all appropriate measures are being taken to protect them.

First published: 7 October 2021