Update on the current ‘Circuit Break’ lockdown (27 Nov – 11 Dec)

The Northern Ireland Executive Office has provided clarification on a number of issues relating to the current Circuit Break Lockdown as it applies to churches. Here is a summary of the key points.

The latest ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown commenced on Friday 27th November and lasts for two weeks until Friday 11th December. 

Places of worship are closed for public services including Mass, baptisms and confessions. Weddings and funerals are permitted with a maximum number of 25 persons attending. All such activities are subject to adherence to Public Health Authority guidance on social distancing and guidance on preventing the spread of infection. 

Churches may be opened for private prayer with social distancing guidance in application. 

Churches may be used to record or live-stream services from places, as long as there are no more than four people within the premises.  The recording or livestreaming cannot take place at the same time as people are present for private prayer.

Churches and Parish Halls/Centres may continue to provide essential services such as food banks and contact centres and may also be open to allow drop-off of charitable donations. All such activities are subject to social distancing and infection prevention measures and guidance.

Pastoral visits are permitted in domestic dwellings involving individuals from that household only.  Again, PHA guidance and measures must be adhered to.

The links below provides up to date information on the regulations as they are made and what these mean:

Further information is also available on NI Direct, which is updated regularly to reflect changes in regulations:

 You may also find helpful a list of Q&As available which will be updated as required: