People in the UK province will have to provide a passport or proof of a negative Covid test result to access hospitality venues including nightclubs, pubs or restaurants from December 13. 

In Wales, Covid passes have been required for entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls since Monday after MPs voted to extend the measures. And in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is planning to extend the passport scheme to cover pubs, cinemas and theatres - as well as clubs - ahead of Christmas. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far refrained from introducing Covid passports in England, though Downing Street has admitted that the controversial measure could be imposed in the event of the NHS coming under pressure this winter.

Speaking after the snap vote this evening, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann said he was trying to avoid the need for restrictions this winter, including a full lockdown, and insisted ministers 'have to act'.

DUP ministers voted against the proposal but Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and UUP ministers backed it. The DUP did not deploy a cross-community voting mechanism that could have blocked the introduction of certification in the region. However, the party has called for a vote in the Assembly before the policy is introduced.

Responding to the move, DUP First Minister Paul Givan called the policy 'divisive' and said it would have 'marginal' impact on reducing transmission rates. He added it would create a 'two-tier' system whereby certification was required for certain private sector businesses but not for accessing public services.

Previous Executive decisions on Covid restrictions, including lockdowns, have been subject to retrospective votes in the chamber, usually weeks after the measures have been rolled out.

Under Mr Swann's plan, people wishing to gain entry to designated venues would 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.

Covid certification will be used to gain entry to nightclubs, hospitality premises that serve food and/or drink, cinemas, theatres and conferences halls. It will also be needed to access indoor events with 500 or more attendees where some or all of the audience is not normally seated.

Certificates 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 compulsory at all events of 10,000 or more attendees whether the audience is seated or not.

Mr Swann wants the regulations needed for the law change come into effect on November 29, with a 14-day grace period prior to becoming enforceable on December 13.

Non-compliant venues could be hit with a £1,000 fine.