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Re-opening Guidance

As restrictions ease, more businesses will be permitted to re-open, provided they follow relevant safety advice. This page will be kept up to date with information for all sectors.

NI Executive Decisions

Restrictions until 1 April 2021

Until 1 April 2021, the following businesses must close:

  • Close contact services
  • Hospitality
  • Accommodation 
  • Entertainment, leisure and cultural activities
  • Retail except for essential

Essential retail can continue to operate. Essential retail businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • food retailers 
  • supermarkets
  • convenience stores 
  • newsagents
  • off licences
  • pharmacies
  • chemists
  • fuel suppliers
  • building supplies and hardware stores (equipment for building maintenance and repairs - such as keys, locks, nuts, screws, washers, hinges, latches, handles, wire, chains, belts, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, tools, and machine parts)
  • bicycle shops
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • livestock markets
  • motor vehicle repair shops
  • banks
  • building societies 
  • credit unions
  • post offices
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes
  • dry cleaners
  • dental services
  • opticians
  • audiology services
  • chiropody
  • chiropractors
  • osteopaths and other medical or health services
  • veterinary surgeons
  • dog groomers
  • pet shops
  • telecommunications and IT repair and maintenance

Childcare can continue to operate, sports at an elite level can take place, work carried out in private homes can continue and estate agents can continue to operate. 

These restrictions were reviewed on 21 January 2021 and the NI Executive agreed that restrictions would be extended for another 6 weeks until 5 March 2021. On 18 February, the restrictions were extended until 1 April 2021.


PPE Suppliers List

A list of PPE suppliers is available for local businesses who require PPE to re-open.

Risk Assessment

It is important that your risk assessment is kept up to date and reflects the risks COVID-19 poses in your workplace. The Health and Safety Executive has produced an example risk assessment which shows the kind of approach HSENI expects a small business or workplace to take when carrying out a risk assessment for COVID-19 in the workplace.

View HSENI example risk assessment template

Useful Resources

Consumer Council

The Consumer council has produced an energy price comparison tool to help businesses find a tariff that suits their business needs. The tool will allow you to compare electricity and gas tariffs, available from NI suppliers.

View Consumer Council energy tool


Social Distancing Posters

Posters are available for shops within the five town centres of Ards and North Down reminding customers of social distancing measures. The posters are branded with each town logo.

View Town Social Distancing posters


InvestNI Checklists

COVID-19 Connecting Businesses

To support our local businesses, we want to use the AND Business website to match resources with emerging issues. If your business can offer support, or needs support, please register using the link below. 

Useful Contacts

Health and Safety Executive NI


Public Health Agency


Coronavirus Business Advice and Support

The AND business team is here to support you.

For further information or if you need help and advice, please get in touch via email or telephone 028 9147 3788