Coronavirus: a simple guide to the new rules from September 22

The rules on Covid-19 are getting more strict... and here the News Letter tries to explain in simple terms what this means.
A worker on a PPE assembly lineA worker on a PPE assembly line
A worker on a PPE assembly line

The rules on Covid-19 are getting more strict... and here the News Letter tries to explain in simple terms what this means.

The rules are made up of a mish-mash of guidance/advice, and legally-enforceable regulations – and both have changed constantly over the past five months.

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The most recent guide to rules, as they stood up until today’s announcement, had said the following:

You could gather outdoors at a private dwelling in a group of up to 15 people; but in doing so you should maintain social distancing from people who are not from your household.

In addition, up to six people were allowed to gather in one home, from a maximum of two different households.

There was meant to be a 15-person limit on any outdoor or indoor events (but this limit ceased to apply if the event met certain criteria, such as having a dedicated organiser and doing a health-and-safety audit).

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However, up until today’s announcement, a tighter series of restrictions than those above were applied in certain select postcodes – mainly Belfast, the countryside to the west of the city, Lisburn, an area of rural Armagh, Ballymena, and an area to the north of Ballymena (click here for map).

These have now been extended to cover the entire Province, taking effect from 6pm tomorrow (September 22).

These restrictions are:

No mixing of households in private dwellings, with exemptions for:

~ Bubbling with one other household;

~ Caring responsibilities including childcare, medical visits, and supported living;

~ Essential maintenance;

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~ And marriage or civil partnerships where one partner is terminally ill.

No more than six people can gather in a private garden from no more than two households.

Children aged 12, and under from those two households, are discounted from this total.

The new rules do not stop people from going to restaurants or pubs.

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In addition, wearing masks in shops and on public transport remains mandatory.

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