Coronavirus: Indoor seated venues guidance

News article

An overview of current COVID-19 regulations and guidance, and what they mean for indoor seated venues

New relaxations on social distancing came into effect on 30 September 2021. While these changes removed the requirement for social distancing in indoor seated venues, the Northern Ireland Executive is reminding sectors of the regulations remaining in law and recommending additional mitigations that should be put in place to limit the risk of transmission.

This guidance is an overview of what you can and cannot do. It is not a definitive statement of the law and should not be relied upon as such.

Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility as an employer, business owner or manager of a premise to ensure that you are complying with the current regulations and guidance in place.

The current regulations are available on the Department of Health website.

Keep in mind that some of the restrictions are in law through regulation, while others are guidance. These remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and you are asked to continue to protect your customers and your employees by following public health advice.

If you fail to comply with the regulations without reasonable excuse, you are committing an offence. For some offences, you may be given a fixed penalty or a fine on summary prosecution.

Current requirements in COVID-19 regulations 

Indoor seated venues must:

  • require the wearing of face coverings
  • record visitor and attendee information
  • perform a risk assessment, and produce it if requested

Face coverings must be worn when seated and when moving about the venue.

Live music events (indoor and outdoor), without restriction to volume levels, must be effectively controlled and managed.

Venues are required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme. Customer details will include the:

  • name and telephone number of each visitor over the age of 16
  • date and time of their visit

Recommended mitigations 

Indoor attractions and venues must take reasonable measures to help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, this includes:

  • limiting entry to those either fully vaccinated or with a negative lateral flow test (LFT), or a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the previous 30-180 days
  • hand sanitiser stations
  • use of protective screens
  • good ventilation 
  • use of one way systems (if possible)
  • minimising close face to face contact
  • regular cleaning especially for high contact areas like card machines 

Current regulations do not require social distancing in indoor seated venues or outdoor venues. However, social distancing remains strongly advised where possible and should be considered alongside other risk mitigations to limit the risk of transmission.

Risk mitigations should be detailed in your risk assessments.

Covid certification scheme

Proof of COVID-19 status is required to access indoor unseated or partially seated events with 500 people or more.

Find out more about the Covid certification scheme.


First published: 30 September 2021