North to begin lockdown exit on Monday - here's how things will change and what you will and won't be permitted to do

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The North of Ireland will move towards implementing the first phase of its exit from Coronavirus lockdown on Monday.

The first phase is one of five that Northern Ireland must go through over the coming months to try and rescue the local economy from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

One of the first changes people will notice on Monday is the re-opening of garden centres and recycling centres.

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It's important people are aware of the phases and details set out in the Northern Ireland Executive's 'Coronavirus Executive Approach to Decision Making'.

Steps will not necessarily be taken at the same time for each particular sector: e.g. step one for the Work sector might apply at a different time to step one for the Family & Community sector - "reflecting the complexity and adaptability of each environment," reads the 'Coronavirus Executive Approach to Decision Making' plan.

The following paints a picture of what day-to-day life will look like when Northern Ireland fully implements phase one.


Encouragement to those unable to work from home to return to workplace on phased basis subject to legal requirements and best practice arrangements being in place.


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Large outdoor based retail can open (eg garden centres - though associated cafes and restaurants only able to offer takeaway/collection).

Family & Community

Groups of between four and six people who do not share a household can meet outdoors maintaining social distancing.

A man walks his dog past a message of support for the NHS on the Free Derry Corner.A man walks his dog past a message of support for the NHS on the Free Derry Corner.
A man walks his dog past a message of support for the NHS on the Free Derry Corner.

With the exception of people who are shielding, visits to immediate family allowed indoors where social distancing is possible.

Drive through church services and churches open for private prayer with appropriate social distancing and cleaning of shared contact hard surfaces.

Sport, cultural and leisure activities

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Outdoor spaces and public sport amenities to open. Can undertake for example, walking, running, cycling, some water activities, golf, tennis. Drive through cinema.

Definition of steps

Outdoor activities (work and leisure) during which social distancing can be maintained for individuals who do not share a household contact and where there is no shared contact with hard surfaces.

Restrictions currently in place in education and travel sectors remain unchanged.


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