Covid-19 certificates will become mandatory in Northern Ireland next month

Passports for the Covid-19 vaccine will be offered on a mandatory basis to people arriving at certain places in Northern Ireland from next month after Stormont ministers backed the move despite opposition from the DUP.

Executive members from Sinn Féin, UUP, SDLP and Alliance have backed the plan from Stormont Health Secretary Robin Swann, which will see certifications being legally enforced for those attending nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and conference rooms.

Under the plan, people wishing to enter designated places will need to show evidence of Covid-19 vaccination, a negative lateral flow test result or evidence of infection in the previous six months. Non-compliant venues may be subject to a fine of £1,000.

Certificates will also be required for indoor events with 500 or more attendees where some or all attendees are not normally seated, outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees where some or all of them are not normally seated and events with 10,000 or more attendees whether the audience is seated or not.

The DUP called for a vote in the assembly before introducing the policy but did not deploy a voting mechanism across communities that would have prevented its introduction.

The grace period

Mr Swann wants the regulations needed to change the law to take effect on November 29, with a 14-day grace period before becoming enforceable on December 13. It is also scheduled to establish a set of other measures aimed at increasing compliance with the current epidemic rules and directives and raising vaccination rates.

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