You may have seen our post on the new government guidelines for the UK, but what about Northern and Southern Ireland? It can be difficult to sift through the information but here are the restrictions and timelines explained.

Northern Ireland

For those in Northern Ireland, strict lockdown has remained in place since Boxing Day, which has dampened many spirits and, so far, there aren’t definitive plans to start relieving lockdown but talks will begin mid-March and you’ll know more then.

Key date: 1 April 2021 – All restrictions will remain in place until 1 April 2021. Restrictions will be reviewed on 16 March 2021.

Some of the current restrictions are as follows.

  • You must wear a cloth face covering 
    • in taxis, busses, coaches, planes, trains, in bus stations and in airports at all times
    • when entering shops or shopping centres
    • when entering hospitality premises
    • when entering takeaways
    • when entering or leaving places of worship
    • when visiting banks, building societies, credit unions
    • when visiting government buildings
  • You must stay at your place of residence unless you have a reasonable excuse to leave such as
    • when shopping
    • when exercising individually
    • when getting medical assistance
    • when taking an animal to the vet
    • when attending a funeral, etc
  • You cannot mix with other households unless you are in a support bubble with one other household.
  • All ‘close contact’ businesses are to remain closed and other venues such as gyms, hotels, etc.
  • Essential retail can remain open with precautions.
  • Social distancing should still be in place.


You are able to gather indoors for the purpose of a marriage or civil partnership if one of the persons is terminally ill. Up to 10 people may attend, including children under the age of 12 and the celebrant.

Other weddings are limited to 25 people with a risk assessment required for any number over 15. Face coverings are mandatory and receptions or post-ceremony gatherings are forbidden. 

For the full explanation of the restrictions, read more here.

Key date: 8 March 2021 – preschool and primary school children will resume classes, but older students will continue remote learning.

Key date: 22 March 2021 – secondary school students in key exam years will resume face-to-face classes on the 22nd and pupils that resumed on 8 March will return to remote learning.

All learning will continue remotely until further details of the phased return are announced.

Will Northern Ireland come out of lockdown?

The chief medical officer says that Covid-19 restrictions will not be fully lifted until ’70-80% of people have been vaccinated’ with only 22% currently vaccinated. But, again, in mid-March, the restrictions will be reviewed.

Southern Ireland

On 23 February 2021, the Government issued a roadmap to help ease lockdown measures over the coming months.

The plan consists of five levels with Level 1 having the fewest restrictions and Level 5 the most. The level of restrictions will be based on the current Covid-19 levels.

Key date: 5 April 2021 – All restrictions are in place until 5 April.

The Level 5 restrictions currently apply where everyone is to stay home except for work, education, or essential reasons or to exercise within 5km of your home.

You are not allowed to visit other households but can take exercise outside with people from other households when taking precautions.

Only essential retail is open and childcare is open for essential workers only.

Key date: 1 March 2021 – from this date, schools will start their phased return plans.

  • 1 March
    • Special schools will return to full capacity
    • Junior and senior infants will return
    • Final year leaving certificate classes will return
  • 8 March
    • ECCE programme will return
  • 15 March
    • 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th primary classes will return
    • 5th post-primary students will return
  • 29 March
    • Early learning, care, and school-age childcare will reopen
  • 12 April
    • 1st to 4th years post-primary will return

Weddings in Levels 4 and 5

Currently, only up to 6 people can attend a wedding and organised events are forbidden.

Weddings in Level 3

In level 3, up to 25 people can attend a wedding.

Weddings in Level 2

In level 2, up to 50 people can attend a wedding.

Weddings in Level 1

In level 1, restrictions will still exist.

  • Up to 50 people can meet outdoors at organised events that are not covered by other specific guidance
  • Up to 100 people can attend a wedding
  • In larger venues and indoor events, up to 200 people can attend
  • In large stadiums, up to 500 can attend with a minimum capacity of 5,000

There seems, again, to be no definitive plan as to the dates when each ‘level’ will start but the review dates will be 16 March, 15 April, 13 May, and 10 June. 

Without set dates in sight, it might be difficult for those living in Ireland to keep the hope of resuming normality but those days will come! And hopefully, the review dates will see a positive outlook for Ireland.

If you have a wedding coming up and would like to plan your fabulous outfit get in touch with our talented tailoring team today.

Stay safe and stay uplifted!