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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 Timeline

On 12 May 2020 the NI Executive announced their five stage recovery plan. At each stage more businesses will be allowed to open. View the full list of businesses who can and cannot operate.

Guidance from the Department of Health on the regulations

August 2020 - most recent guidance

From 8 August 2020:

  • Theatres and concert halls (on a restricted basis, for the purposes of rehearsals)

From 10 August 2020:

  • Socially distanced spectators can attend indoor sporting events

The following must still remain closed due to a spike in transmission rates:

  • reopening of theatres and concert venues to socially distanced indoor audiences
  • reopening of indoor bars, pubs and private members’ clubs that only sell drinks

July 2020

From Friday 3 July 2020 the following tourism and hospitality businesses are permitted to reopen:

  • Guesthouses, guest accommodation, B&Bs, hotels and hostels.
  • Restaurants, cafés, coffee shops.
  • Visitor attractions.
  • Betting shops

From 3 July 2020 the indoor spaces of pubs and bars will be permitted to be used for the provision of substantial meals with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. Permission to open will be on a table service basis, ie customers will not be permitted to order either food or drink from the bar area of an establishment.

Pubs and bars with outdoor spaces, such as beer gardens, will be able to serve alcohol (where their licence permits them to do so) in these spaces on a table service basis.

However, at this stage hotel spas and leisure facilities will not be permitted to open.

From 6 July 2020 the following can re-open:

  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers and tanning services, electrolysis or acupuncture
  • spas
  • massage parlours
  • tattoo and piercing parlours

The relaxation pertaining to spas does not apply to thermal treatment aspects of spas, including saunas and steam rooms, hydrotherapy pools and cold and ice rooms

From Friday 10 July 2020 the following will be permitted to re-open:

  • Indoor gyms
  • Outdoor leisure playgrounds
  • Indoor weddings and marriage ceremonies can take place in places of worship and other venues
  • bingo halls and amusement arcades
  • cinemas

From 11 July 2020:

  • Outdoor horse racing and equestrian competitions
  • Outdoor competitive games and sporting events (no spectators allowed)

From 16 July 2020: 

  • Libraries

From 17 July 2020:

  • indoor sports courts and skating rinks
  • leisure centres 

Swimming pools, soft play areas and bowling alleys cannot re-open at this stage.

From 24 July 2020:

  • Swimming pools in leisure centres, hotels and private facilities will be enabled to open;
  • Wet treatments in spas, such as saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools will be permitted to resume;
  • Bowling alleys will be enabled to reopen;
  • Indoor and outdoor funfairs will be enabled to reopen.


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

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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