Today (23 July) the NI Executive agreed that from Friday 24 July some spectators can attend organised outdoor sports fixtures or events where the sports Governing Body, club or venue operator can ensure compliance with social distancing, control numbers accordingly and have appropriate hygiene regimes in place.

The Executive also agreed that swimming pools can reopen. In reopening swimming pools, it is important that venue operators comply with environmental and health advice and where appropriate sports Governing Body protocols to deliver a safe return for swimmers.

Minister Carál Ni Chuilin said: “The Executive today recognised the importance of opening up sport again to spectators and reopening swimming pools to the general public and club swimmers.  

“Permitting some spectators is an important step for those who spend their leisure time watching sport whether that be at an underage game or a professional event.  It is important that we see a safe and sensible approach from everyone and that we realise that numbers and the arrangements for spectators will be very different for the foreseeable future. 

“Reopening swimming pools is a significant step for those who enjoy swimming for leisure or as a competitive swimmer.  It will greatly benefit those involved with their physical health and wellbeing and for many with their mental health.

“The decisions place enormous responsibility on Governing Bodies, clubs and venue operators as well as on individuals.  The risk of this virus continues to be very real.  Where possible, everyone must observe social distancing and good hygiene practices.”

Ministers have confirmed the following relaxations which are made in the expectation of all relevant public health advice being followed. From tomorrow, July 24:

  • The maximum number of people who can gather in a residential setting will increase from six to 10, with a requirement that they come from no more than four different households and an expectation that social distancing and other public health advice is observed;
  • Overnight stays in a different household will be enabled;
  • Community centres and halls will be enabled to reopen;
  • Spectators will be enabled to attend outdoor competitive games with numbers to be determined by the venue in line with public health advice;
  • Swimming pools in leisure centres, hotels and private facilities will be enabled to open;
  • Wet treatments in spas, such as saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools will be permitted to resume;
  • Bowling alleys will be enabled to reopen;
  • Indoor and outdoor funfairs will be enabled to reopen.

 

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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