From 12 April further Covid-19 restriction relaxations are due to come into play which will see a full return to school plus outdoor retail such as garden centres and car retailers.

Car Retailers are allowed to reopen from 12 April. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Car Retailers are allowed to reopen from 12 April. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
  • Permit all pupils to return to school;
  • Increase the number who can meet outdoors in a garden, from six to 10 (including children) from two households;
  • Remove the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation, moving to a ‘stay local’ and ‘work from home’ message;
  • Allow contactless ‘click and collect’ for all non-essential retail; and
  • Allow outdoor sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised sports Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to 15 people but with all indoor spaces closed except essential toilet facilities.

Ministers also agreed a range of further relaxations, which will also come into effect on 12 April:

  • Permit potential marriage and civil partnership customers to view the facilities of venues used for marriages and civil partnerships, such as hotels and other venues, restricted to a maximum of four customers per visit.
  • Reopen outdoor retail, which comprises:
  1. New & Used Car Retailers;
  2. Retailers of Light Motor Vehicles, Lorries & Trailers;
  3. Retailers of Caravans or Motorhomes;
  4. Retailers of Agricultural or Other Large Machinery;
  5. Garden Centres, Plant Nurseries; and
  6. Car Washes.
  • To extend the provision for up to 15 people (including coaches), as previously agreed, to also include structured outdoor sports training organised by clubs/individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity.
  • To increase the number permitted to attend marriages, civil partnerships and funerals, informed by a risk assessment for the venue.

The decisions made reflect the Executive’s commitment to addressing the health, societal and economic impact of COVID-19, and while Ministers are committed to a four-week review period, this process also provides flexibility to make gradual easements where it appropriate to do so.

The next review date under the Pathway out of Restrictions is 15 April 2021.

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