NORTHERN IRELAND has introduced its vaccination passport system today, November 29, in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The passports will be required to gain entry to certain indoor settings such as restaurants, pubs and theatres, with a two week grace period before fines are imposed on venues that fail to comply with the measures.
Unlicensed premises such as cafes and shops will not have to enforce vaccines passports.
The passport will show proof of either full vaccination status, a negative Lateral Flow test result in the previous 48 hours or proof of recovery from a positive PCR test in the previous 30-180 days.
The full list of venues where the passport must be enforced includes:
- licensed hospitality venues
- cinemas, theatres and conference halls
- indoor events with more than 500 attendees, with some or all of the audience not seated
- outdoor events with more than 4,000 attendees, with some or all of the audience not seated
- events where more than 10,000 people will be present regardless of whether they are seated
Those who already have a travel certificate will be able to apply for a domestic certificate through the COVIDCert NI app.
The COVIDCert NI app will also accept EU travel certificates, as well as the NHS vaccine certificates used in Scotland, England and Wales.
Travel certificates from other countries may also be accepted as long as they have a QR code meeting EU/ WHO standards and there is a bilateral agreement in place with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Those who do not yet have a travel certificate or who have not downloaded the app can apply for one by creating a nidirect account.
A paper certificate can also be requested by phoning 0300 200 7814 Monday to Sunday from 8.00am to 8.00pm.
In a statement, the Department of Health said the certificates "can reduce the number of infected people in high risk settings."
"Vaccinated people are less likely to become infected and ill than unvaccinated people," it continued.
"There is also evidence, from several studies worldwide, that even when people get infected, if they are vaccinated they are less likely to transmit it to others.
"The biggest threat to customer confidence and the economy this winter would be an escalating surge in Covid infections. Vaccination and improved adherence to public health measures can help push down infections. So can Covid certification."
The regulations will also allow for supervised on-site Lateral Flow testing to be provided by an event organiser or business, prior to entry, and those with a medical exemption for a vaccination can also use evidence of such an exemption to gain access to venues.