Latest News - Northern Ireland

We are delighted to be entering a new phase in living with the COVID-19 pandemic and would like to thank you for your support over the last 18 months. 

We continue to regularly monitor COVID-19 government guidelines, research and statistics in this area and its impact on athletes and volunteers returning to Special Olympics activities. Considerations include but are not limited to:

  • Incident levels of Covid-19 across the island
  • Physical health, underlying conditions, age and vaccination levels of athletes and/or volunteers

We would like to confirm our updated position in relation to the Return to Activities for clubs that will guide and support you in your preparations for outdoor and indoor sports training.  We are recommending to clubs returning to activities to adopt a ‘POD APPROACH’ to indoor training.


Indoor Sports Training – POD Approach

Recommendation of multiple pods of up to 6 participants excluding coaches/ volunteers.

Substantial social distance between individual pods is required (pods are completely separate and independent of one another)

Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can presently both return to club training and public health measures of 2M Social Distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitisation continues

We will be adopting this approach until the end of October 2021 unless our monitoring indicates otherwise.  We firmly believe this approach helps to manage and minimise risks for athletes and volunteers.

The Return to Activities Protocol and all related documents are all updated and available here

Please contact the Regional Team on if you have any questions.

Mask Wearing

Special Olympics Ireland recognises that the roll out of vaccinations are providing invaluable protection against COVID-19 however, the continuance of wearing masks is required by the organisation due to the health vulnerability of our athletes and the benefit of maintaining  identified public health guidelines for infectious diseases.

Due to the health vulnerability of people with an ID, Special Olympics Ireland has taken the additional step of requiring mask wearing for club sessions.  

  • Mask to be worn on the way into and out of the venue and when moving within the venue (unless the individual is exempt)
  • Athletes taking part in physical exercise are not required to wear a mask
  • Mask to be worn by coaches and volunteers indoors (unless the individual is exempt)
  • Recommendation that a mask is worn outdoors and must be worn where 2m distance cannot be maintained (unless the individual is exempt)