Unlicensed premises will no longer have to adhere to the requirement for table service only within their businesses from Saturday.
Table service will remain a requirement for licensed premises, but an exemption will apply for those providing a meal service in the form of buffet or carvery.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds made the announcement on Thursday, meaning fast food outlets, buffets, carveries and other similar businesses will be allowed to operate indoor service.
The Minister said: “I am pleased that the Executive today agreed my proposal to remove the table service requirement for unlicensed restaurants, cafés and coffee shops. These changes will come into effect for the weekend.
“The hospitality industry and the trade bodies have worked incredibly hard to put in place safety measures and mitigations to keep customers safe. I am committed to doing all I can to help businesses in this beleaguered sector to recover.
“Today’s decision will enable those outlets that provide buffets and carveries to resume service, as well as fast food and multi-outlets where customers choose food at a counter before sitting down. This includes those in shared seating areas in shopping centres and motorway services.
“This is another welcome step in the right direction both for the industry and for the public as we emerge from the pandemic.”