Northern Ireland: COVID-19 advice for musicians

This page is regularly updated to cover the latest information coming from the Northern Irish Executive that affects musicians working in Northern Ireland. You can see our other pages on England, Scotland and Wales.

Key dates for the music sector

On 1 April 2021, the Northern Ireland Executive confirmed that certain restrictions will be lifted from 12 April 2021. The next review date under the Pathway out of Restrictions is 15 April 2021.

The following may affect musicians' work from 12 April 2021:

  • All remaining students in years 8 to 11 return to face-to-face teaching in school.
  • The number of people permitted to meet outdoors in a garden increases to ten people from two households (including children).
  • 'Stay at home' will be replaced by 'stay local' and 'work from home'.
  • The number of people permitted to attend marriages, civil partnerships and funerals increases but is informed by a risk assessment for the venue.

We will continue to monitor any changes and update members accordingly.

Last updated: 6 April 2021

Private teaching

Face-to-face music lessons and private tutoring are permitted but please see below for further detail.

Private face-to-face music lessons are permitted to continue but as long as social distancing is maintained and there is no close contact.

Performances and rehearsals

Theatres and concert halls are permitted to open for rehearsals or a live recording without an audience.

Theatres and concert halls are permitted to open for rehearsals or a live recording without an audience. We are seeking clarity as to whether this applies to non-professional groups too. Where it is not possible to work from home, there is an exemption for gatherings larger than six from a maximum of two households.

Schools and colleges

Schools and colleges will reopen in a phased return from 8 March 2021.

Last updated: 6 April 2021

From 8 March until 19 March, primary school pupils in primary years one to three will return to full-time face-to-face teaching

Students in years 12 to 14, who will be awarded qualifications this summer will return to full-time face-to-face teaching on 22 March.

Special schools will remain open as usual.

Vulnerable children and children of key workers have access to schools for supervised learning. Only one parent/guardian is required to be a key worker.

From 12 April 2021

All remaining students in years 8 to 11 return to school.

We are investigating reports that singing or playing wind and brass instruments will not be permitted from 12 April 2021. We will update members as soon as we have more information.

Music in worship

Places of worship are permitted to open in line with relevant guidance but with a limit of 15.

It is mandatory to wear face coverings inside the building and when entering and exiting. Face covering exemptions also apply. Social distancing and appropriate protective measures are of vital importance.

There are different restrictions on permitted numbers for weddings and funerals. Please see below for further information.

Last updated: 6 April 2021

Weddings and funerals

Weddings and civil partnerships

Weddings and civil partnerships ceremonies are limited to 25 people. This number includes children under 12 and the celebrant. We assume that musicians working are included in this number too. A risk assessment for over 15 people is required. Face masks must be worn by everyone other than all other than the person leading worship; or to a couple who are at a ceremony to solemnise their marriage or to form their civil partnership. Receptions or post ceremony gatherings are not permitted.

Funerals

Funerals are limited to 25 people. We assume that musicians working are included in this number too. Pre and post-funeral gatherings or wakes are not permitted. Existing restrictions on households apply.

From 12 April 2021

The number permitted to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals is to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue.

Get the support you need as a music professional

'I want to say a personal thank you as you work to support all musicians during this unprecedented time. I have been impressed with the speed of response to inform and help the profession, as well as your letters to and lobbying of the government on our behalf.'

ISM member since 1999