Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people to apply for Domestic Covid Status Certification which has now been introduced for licensed premises and other designated settings and events across Northern Ireland.
Certification allows individuals to prove their Covid status by a range of different methods including the CovidCert NI smartphone app and a paper certificate with a secure QR code. The regulations were introduced on Monday 29 November but there will be a grace period, when fixed penalty notices will not be issued, until 13 Dec 2021.
The Minister said: "I am greatly encouraged to see the rapid uptake of the scheme with almost 86,000 people applying for certification since Monday this week. In total, almost 254,000 users have activated their domestic certificates.
"The system is very efficient and 93% of those who apply get through the digital process automatically without any issues. But it's important that the scheme is easily accessible for everyone and that's why we have ensured that those who do not have access to digital technology are able to have a paper version that's convenient and simple to use.
"For those who need help with their applications, for either the digital or paper certificates, there's a dedicated telephone helpline (0300 2007814), seven days a week, which is currently dealing with more than 3,000 calls per day.
"Either a digital certificate or a paper version with a QR code that can be scanned is the easiest and most efficient way for customers to access premises. But I understand that some people, particularly those who are older and perhaps with vulnerabilities, will need a little more time to make arrangements for accessing certification. Therefore, for an interim period, people will be able to use their Vaccination Card alongside photographic identification to gain entry to premises covered by the regulations. However, this arrangement is temporary, so I encourage everyone to apply now for their official certificate, either in paper or electronic version."
The Covid Status Certification scheme allows people to prove their status by three different methods:
Proof of Full Vaccination by various methods
- Covid Cert NI App (download on smart phone, produces unique QR code indicating positive vaccination, confirmed by reader at the venue)
- Secure QR code on paper, provided by Department of Health, by calling 0300 2007814. Same process as above, just on paper instead of smart phone.
- Vaccination card with photo ID - this is an interim arrangement.
Negative Lateral Flow antigen test within the previous 48 hours
- Must be registered on NHS site as a negative test. Email or text alongside photo ID is required. Lateral flow tests are available for free at community pharmacies or on the gov.uk website
Previous positive test for COVID-19, between 30-180 days old
- Proof of previous test, either email or text, alongside photo ID is required
The Minister added: "I know how important it is for people to be able to access hospitality businesses and other venues, and the Covid Status Certification Scheme, as part of a combination of measures, will allow as much of society and the economy to function in a near normal way as possible.
"It will also help to protect the health of the population by limiting the spread of COVID-19 infection in order to minimise the numbers of cases and deaths and ensure, as far as possible, that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed this winter."