The law says that nobody can leave their home without a reasonable excuse.

What makes a reasonable excuse can vary depending on the exact situation. But it is likely to be reasonable to leave home in Northern Ireland to:

  • buy food, including alcohol and other luxuries
  • buy tools and supplies for home repairs or gardening
  • exercise, including walking, running, cycling, golf, fishing and tending an allotment
  • go to a drive-in cinema, theatre or concert, as long as you stay in your car
  • get medical help, including for pets and to help someone else with their medical needs
  • escape an abusive or other dangerous situation at home
  • work, if you cannot work from home
  • take children to school or childcare, or take them between parents’ homes
  • move house
  • go to a waste or recycling centre
  • get money or collect a delivery
  • fulfil a legal obligation
  • access social, employment or victim support services
  • attend a funeral or visit a burial ground or remembrance garden
  • visit a church or other place of worship for individual prayer or a drive-in ceremony

Public gatherings

Outdoor gatherings of up to six people who don’t live together are now allowed.

Please stay 2m from anyone you meet from outside your household.

Larger groups are allowed in some situations, for example:

  • people working together who cannot work from home
  • weddings attended by up to 10 people where one of the partners is termally ill
  • funerals

Police powers and fines for breaking coronavirus rules


Shops selling food, drink, medicines and other supplies are allowed to stay open. Places like cafes, restaurants and pubs are only allowed to open for takeaway.

More information on business closures

Reporting a social distancing violation

You can report a serious breach of the coronavirus rules online with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.