There will be a six week national lockdown from 26 December.

However, there will be stricter regulations between 26 December and 2 January.

More about the six week national lockdown

Please note that there will be variations of these rules on 25 December.

More information on the rules for Christmas

Gatherings and mixing of households


Households are no longer allowed to mix indoors in private homes unless you’re bubbling with one other household.

You can form a bubble with only one other household. These two households can be any size, however gatherings indoors should be no more than six people. Children aged 12 and under from those two households are not counted in this total.

There are some exemptions, including for those with caring responsibilities and the movement of children between homes when their parents don’t live in the same household - see more about the exceptions.


Up to six people from no more than two households can meet in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing.

If the gathering is with members of your bubble, then a maximum of 15 people from the two households can meet up outdoors in your garden. Children aged 12 and under from those two households are not counted in this total.

Find out more about the restrictions


Restaurants, cafes and pubs are not allowed to open, apart from deliveries and takeaways for food which must close at 11pm.

More information on business closures

Face coverings

People aged 13 and over must wear a face covering on public transport and in shops.

Exceptions include:

  • physical or mental illness, impairment or disability which prevents you wearing a face covering
  • taking medicine, eating and drinking when necessary
  • lip reading
  • to avoid harm or injury
  • if you are asked to remove your face covering by someone in authority

Reporting a violation of the rules

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