Unvaccinated fans arriving for Super Cup in Belfast will not have to self-isolate

Exemption allowed after Executive eases restrictions on those travelling from EU and US

A social distancing sign in the Stormont Estate in Belfast. The North’s department of health has reported 1,471 new positive cases of Covid-19. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A social distancing sign in the Stormont Estate in Belfast. The North’s department of health has reported 1,471 new positive cases of Covid-19. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Fans of Spanish football side Villarreal travelling to the North for a Uefa Super Cup clash with Chelsea will not have to self-isolate even if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19, the Stormont Executive has agreed.

In a further easing of coronavirus restrictions, the Executive decided anyone who is fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling into the region from the US and EU, excluding France.

Those travelling from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican City will also not have to isolate if fully inoculated against the coronavirus. The changes take effect from Monday.

However, an exemption was agreed that there should be no requirements for Villarreal fans coming from Spain for their match with Chelsea on August 11th at Belfast’s Windsor Park.

Instead, the Irish Football Association would be “putting in place a range of mitigations”, according to the Executive.

It is not yet known how many fans will travel for one of the more high profile club clashes ever staged in the North.

France was excluded from the easing of isolation rules in line with UK policy because of concerns about variant strains of the coronavirus circulating in the country.

Arrivals from the US must have proof of residency and of being fully inoculated with vaccines approved by the country’s medicines regulator.

Two more Covid-19 deaths and 1,471 further cases were reported in the North on Thursday. The latest figures show 234 patients were being treated for the disease in the North’s hospitals, with 31 people in intensive care and 25 on ventilators.

Social distancing rules

The Executive also agreed on a further easing of social distancing rules in the North. From 6pm on Friday, it will no longer be a regulation to socially distance when outdoors. Guidance will remain that, where possible, keeping a minimum of one metre apart, or ideally two metres, is “strongly advised” but it will not be a requirement.

A regulation on people staying two metres apart indoors in the likes of shopping centres and retail outlets has been reduced to one metre, bringing retail in line with other indoor settings such as the hospitality sector.

A decision earlier in the week to allow live performances to resume at purpose-built venues such as theatres and concert halls has been expanded to include other indoor venues such as hotel function rooms and community halls.

Entry must be based on pre-purchased tickets and audiences must have allocated seating and remain seated. Dancing will not be permitted and social distancing of one metre will be required. Lateral flow testing is “strongly advised” for all events, the Executive agreed.

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