Coronavirus: Executive's Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Contingency Plan

News article

Executive's contingency plan to prepare Northern Ireland in the face of the COVID-19 challenge during autumn and winter months

The Executive has outlined an Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Contingency Plan that aims to keep business sectors open to the fullest possible extent while protecting the health of the public and minimising the strain on the health service.

Baseline measures

The Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Plan keeps some basic COVID-19 measures in place including:

  • the retention of a legal requirement for face coverings in crowded indoor settings;
  • the retention of a focus on flexible and hybrid working to reduce the number of social contacts that take place in work settings – recognising that employers are well placed to engage with their workforce on the model that best suits their business;
  • the continued legal requirement for risk assessments to be carried out in certain settings and for visitor and attendee details to be recorded to support the work of the Test, Trace and Protect system.

If COVID-19 case numbers rise sharply

In the event that COVID-19 case numbers rise sharply or hospital pressures become unsustainable the Autumn/Winter Contingency Plan identifies a number of potential contingency measures which include:

  • more focused communications to emphasise the risk and the need for everyone to act immediately
  • the potential to deploy COVID-19 status certification in higher risk settings if considered appropriate and necessary
  • a strengthening of arrangements for self-isolation for close contacts
  • a re-imposition of a legal requirement for minimum social distancing in prescribed settings

Continue to follow public health advice

It is important to keep doing what you have been doing and follow the public health advice. To make safer choices, you should:

  • Get the vaccine when you are offered it
  • Meet outside if you can, and open windows when indoors
  • Wear a face covering in crowded or indoor settings
  • Self-isolate and take a PCR test if you have symptoms
  • Take regular tests if you don’t have symptoms to reduce the risk of spreading the virus
  • Keep your distance from people not in your group when out and about
  • Work from home where practicable, or do a mixture of home and office / workplace based working
  • Wash your hands well and often.

Read full details of the Executive's Autumn/Winter COVID-19 Contingency Plan.

First published 20 October 2021