Northern Ireland Covid passport rules legally enforceable from Monday

Northern Ireland’s Covid certification system will become legally enforceable in the hospitality sector, including for licensed premises and large events, from today.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 13th December 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 13th December 2021, 7:33 am
Nichola Mallon urged people to continue with existing Covid advice on boosters, hygiene and social distancing
Nichola Mallon urged people to continue with existing Covid advice on boosters, hygiene and social distancing

The system was introduced a fortnight ago, but businesses were granted a two-week grace period to implement the measures.

Customers will need to show proof of vaccination, a negative lateral flow test result or proof of previous infection for entry.

The Department of Health said: “People attending a range of venues including licensed pubs/restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and theatres, and larger indoor and outdoor events such as concerts or large sporting events, are required to show staff their Covid status.”

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Fears were expressed last week that confusion around the rules could drive customers away and leave less technically proficient members of the public out in the cold.

Yesterday, SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon said introducing the vaccine certification requirements, alongside existing measures, gives everyone the best chance of avoiding further Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking ahead of an Assembly vote on new health regulations, including vaccine certification, today, Ms Mallon said: “The SDLP first called for the introduction of vaccine certifications nearly three months ago, not because we wanted to but we made this difficult decision as we knew that, alongside existing measures, it would help relieve the pressures on our health service, help keep businesses open and offer greater protection to the public.”

She added: “Another lockdown is not inevitable, if people get vaccinated, get their booster jabs, wear masks, wash their hands and follow social distancing and the other public health guidance then we can get through this together. But it requires political courage also from political leaders”.