Northern Ireland measures: Covid passports go live - all the rules you need to know

Northern Ireland's Covid pass measures have kicked in Credit: PA

Mandatory Covid passports take effect in Northern Ireland from today.

The measures will mean people must show proof of vaccination, a negative test, or recent Covid infection to gain access to venues including pubs, restaurants and cinemas.

The new rules officially take effect from Tuesday, November 29.

The new measures were agreed by the Northern Executive shortly before the emergence of the new Omicron variant, which has prompted countries around the world to tighten border controls.

What is a Covid pass?

The measure comes into effect on November 29, with a 14-day grace period prior to becoming enforceable on December 13.

Under the arrangement, people wishing to gain entry to certain types of venues or events need to demonstrate evidence of:

  • Covid-19 vaccination;

  • A negative lateral flow test result, or;

  • Proof of a coronavirus infection within the previous six months.

Where do the passes apply?

The Executive have agreed that passports are used to gain entry to:

  • Nightclubs and other hospitality premises that serve food and/or drink such as bars, pubs and restaurants;

  • Cinemas and theatres;

  • Conference halls.

Do the passes apply to large events like concerts or weddings?

Covid certificates would also be needed to access indoor events with 500 or more attendees where some or all of the audience is not normally seated.

They would be required for outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees where some or all of the audience is not normally seated.

They would also be mandatory at all events of 10,000 or more attendees, whether the audience is seated or not.

What other Covid restrictions apply to Northern Ireland?

The Executive last week agreed to step up measures including a call to work from home where possible.

Discussions on more proposals to curb the rise of Covid cases in Northern Ireland are ongoing.

Leaders have instructed its Covid taskforce to investigate the potential for face mask compliance enforcement.

The group is also exploring the possibility of setting up a point-of-door system to assess business' compliance with Covid mitigation measures.

Northern Ireland is also affected by the UK's travel measures, introduced in response to the Omicron variant.

Using passenger locator data, the Public Health Agency is identifying and contacting individuals who have recently arrived in Northern Ireland from red list countries.

They and their household members will be asked to self-isolate and undertake PCR tests, which will identify variant types.

From Tuesday, anyone who travels abroad must take a PCR test on day two of their arrival back in the UK and self-isolate until they get a negative result. 

The new measure applies to passengers arriving into the UK from 4am on Tuesday.

The isolation rules for travel will not apply to movement within the Common Travel Area (CAT), which includes Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Britain, and the Channel Islands.

Day two PCR tests for travellers returning to the UK from non-red list countries was introduced by Westminster over the weekend.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving into Northern Ireland from non red-list countries will once again have to self isolate for 10 days, until able to provide a negative test result, Health Minister Robin Swann announced on Monday.

A PCR test must be undertaken on or before Day two, he told assembly members.