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From today 16 August, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days if someone they have been in close contact with tests positive for COVID-19.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Instead, they should get a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10 day period. People who are not fully vaccinated will still need to self-isolate for the 10 days.

This policy change applies to close contacts only. Anyone who has symptoms, whether vaccinated or not, should immediately book a PCR test. Anyone who has had a positive PCR test should self isolate for 10 days.

The Health Minister said: “Today’s Executive decision provides yet another example of the benefits of being fully vaccinated.

“Getting both vaccine doses significantly reduces your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus. 

“The more we can push up Northern Ireland’s vaccination take-up the more we can reduce pressures on our health service in the weeks and months ahead.”

Other Changes from 16 August

Domestic Settings Outdoors

The restriction on the number of people who can gather outdoors at a domestic setting will be removed, including the ban on outdoor house parties.


The restriction on outdoor raves will be removed from the Regulations.

Bubbles/linked households

The provision for bubbles or linked households will be removed as it is no longer required.

Social Distancing on public transport

The requirement to maintain social distancing on public transport at all times will be lifted, to allow for a return to higher capacity on our transport links. No other amendments were made on the requirement to socially distance. 


The limit of numbers permitted at tables will be removed. This will also apply to post marriage celebrations.

FE Colleges, Universities and NSCs

For the new academic year there will be a full return to face-to-face on-site delivery in FE Colleges, Universities and Non-Statutory Contractors including the removal of social distancing restrictions in classrooms.

Conferences and exhibitions 

Conference centres can reopen allowing conferences and exhibitions to resume. 

Schools return

The requirement for school bubbles will be removed for the beginning of the school year with mitigating measures remaining in place. The requirement to wear a face covering will remain in place for the first six weeks of the new term and remain under review. However, for subjects where social distancing is possible, such as drama in a large hall, face coverings are no longer required. Further guidance will be issued to schools by the Department of Education. 

There will also be a full return to extra-curricular and support activities as well as youth services.

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