Hargey welcomes return of spectators to sports events and further reopening of sports activities

Date published: 13 May 2021

Speaking after today’s Executive meeting Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey welcomed the planned return of spectators to sports events and further reopening of sports activities.

Minister Hargey announces further improvements works to Ballymena
Minister Hargey announces further improvements works to Ballymena

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:

“I am pleased that as a first step, 500 spectators will be permitted to watch sport whether at an underage game or a professional event. This is a good sign of progress for those who enjoy watching these events. We will also work with our scientific and medical partners to learn more about the safety at these events and later this month aim to run an event with a higher number again of spectators.

“It was also important to recognise the importance of unstructured sport in our day-to-day lives and to permit those activities to open up again, whether that be 5-aside football in the local leisure centre or Park Run in the local park. Participants must observe the maximum number of 500 people for gatherings when such activities are taking place.

The Minister added: 

“I must stress that it is important that we see a safe and sensible approach from everyone. These decisions place enormous responsibility on Governing Bodies, clubs and venue operators as well as on individuals. Where possible, everyone must observe social distancing and good hygiene practices.” 

The Executive have agreed that from 24 May up to 500 spectators can attend organised outdoor sports fixtures or events where the sports Governing Body, club or venue operator can ensure compliance with social distancing, control numbers accordingly and have appropriate hygiene regimes in place. 

The Executive also agreed further easements of sports activities from 24 May that will see the return of unstructured outdoor sport, the removal of the limit of 15 participants in outdoor sport and an increase in the cap of participants across all outdoor sport from 100 to 500 participants.

These planned relaxations will be subject to review on the 20 May.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Media enquiries to Department for Communities Press Office
  2. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hour’s service for media enquiries only between 1800 hours and 0800 hours Monday to Fridays and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  3. Follow the Department on Twitter @CommunitiesNI

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