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12 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

People in Northern Ireland can meet in group of six in next phase of lockdown exit

By Samuel Horti

People will be able to meet up outside in groups of four to six when Northern Ireland begins easing lockdown measures, the Northern Ireland Executive has said.

Those people can all be from different households and will be able to meet so long as social distancing rules are followed.

The move is part of “step one” of easing the lockdown, as laid out by the Executive in a plan today. In the document, each part of everyday life – work, retail, education, travel, family, and more – is given five steps, but no dates are given for when those steps will be implemented.

Different sectors can progress through the steps at varying speeds, the document says.

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For “family and community”, step one includes groups of up to six people, excluding those who are being shielded, meeting up. Step two allows for groups of ten to meet, step three pushes the number up to 20, step four allows church services and other gatherings, while the final step allows people to meet in “extended groups”.

For work, steps one and two involve the Executive encouraging people to return to work if they cannot work from home, “subject to legal requirements” on their employers. Step three will see a phased return to offices and onsite working, while step five will see everyone returning to work.

You can view the full plan here. The steps are outlined on pages ten and 11.