Northern Ireland Lifts Stay-at-Home Order as CCP Virus Lockdown Eased

April 12, 2021 Updated: April 12, 2021

Northern Ireland’s regional government lifted the COVID-19 stay-at-home order on Monday, but people are still urged to “stay local” and hospitality venues remain closed.

Under the Northern Ireland Executive’s decision issued earlier this month, all pupils returned to school on Monday for the first time since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown began on Jan. 8.

From now on, up to 10 people—including children—from two households can meet outdoors in a private garden, and up to 15 people—including coaches—can take part in outdoor sports training.

Indoor non-essential retail will remain closed, but outdoor retail, such as car dealerships and garden centres, can now open, and shops are allowed to provide contactless “click and collect” services.

While people are no longer asked to “stay at home,” they are still urged to “stay local” and “work from home” if they can.

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (R) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (L) hold a press conference after touring the province’s largest COVID-19 vaccination centre as it opens at the Odyssey SSE Arena in Belfast on March 29, 2021. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Arlene Foster, first minister of Northern Ireland, called it a “milestone day.”

“We are seeing a steady reduction in the health risk indicators and strong progress from our vaccine programme with more than one million vaccines administered across Northern Ireland,” she said in a statement.

“These combined with our expanded test, track and protect services will power us along our pathway to recovery.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill also welcomed the easing of restrictions.

“This is a hugely significant day as we take some more important steps forward on our pathway out of restrictions. We should all take heart from this progress, which is good news for young people, sports, families, business and communities,” she said.

Northern Ireland is the last part of the United Kingdom to lift the stay-at-home order.

In England and Wales, non-essential stores, such as home and fashion chains, reopened on Monday, although those in Scotland need to wait until April 26.

Pubs and restaurants in England are now able to serve outdoors. Indoor service will not be allowed until May 17 at the earliest.

Industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium estimates UK stores have lost £27 billion ($37 billion) in sales over three lockdowns, while 67,000 retail jobs were shed in 2020 alone.

Reuters contributed to this report.