Following the Executive’s announcement of changes to the guidance on social distancing at outdoor gatherings, Minister Deirdre Hargey from the Department for Communities has released an informative letter on this for those planning outdoor arts events and festivals.

Download Ministerial Letter to Arts Organisations

Updated: 2nd August 2021

Letter from Deirdre Hargey MLA, Minister for Communities:

Social Distancing at Outdoor Events and Gatherings

The Executive announced a number of changes to the current Covid-19 restrictions on 29 July. These included a number of changes to the guidance on social distancing at outdoor gatherings which will have implications for those planning outdoor arts events and festivals.

The Executive has therefore decided that:

For outdoor venues, the guidance will continue to note the health benefits of 2 metres social distancing;

The guidance will further advise that social distancing requirements are strongly advised but are not a requirement; and

Where possible, those organising events and venue operators, should maintain a minimum of 1 metre social distancing and ideally 2 metres.

It is important to note that the Executive remains concerned about the spread of the virus and its transmissibility.

Event organisers and venue operators should continue to consider appropriate mitigations that will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading at large gatherings as part of the risk assessment process.

The Executive has also announced a number of changes to the arrangements relating to international travel. Again given the fluid situation, it is essential that those involved in planning events that require inbound or outbound international travel keep up to date with the travel regulations.

In recent days, my Department has received a number of travel exemption requests in respect of the current Covid regulations for upcoming events and I fully expect that other exemption requests will materialise over the next period. I would ask that event organisers submit any requests for travel exemption well in advance of when travel arrangements need to be confirmed.

I can confirm that officials are committed to providing assistance where they can but the onus remains on those involved in organising events to keep themselves fully informed of the current guidance and to have contingency plans in place given that the situation remains fluid and uncertain.

The latest public health advice and updated regulations continue to be available on NI Direct.

I trust this information is helpful.

Is mise le meas,

Deirdre Hargey MLA

Minister for Communities

Updated: 26 July 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance

The Northern Ireland Executive agreed on 26th July that theatres and indoor concert settings can reopen to audiences from 6pm on Tuesday 27th July. Live music will be permitted for rehearsals and performances with no restriction to background ambient levels of volume. Audience members must purchase tickets in advance, must have allocated seating and social distancing of 1m will be required.

More information on the regulations

Arts Council NI guidance on safe reopening of performance venues