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On Tuesday 15 February, all remaining Covid restrictions in Northern Ireland will be lifted. These rules include the use of Covid certificates in nightclubs, face coverings in public spaces, track and trace requirements and the cap on thirty people allowed in private homes. Instead, regulations are being replaced with guidance, and the guidance on working from home remains for now.

Health Minister Robin Swann has urged people to be cautious and has stated that there are currently no plans for any changes to the current guidance on testing, contact tracing or isolation in Northern Ireland.

The decision to scrap Covid laws follows consideration of legal advice from the Attorney General and consultation with Executive ministers and moves the pandemic response in Northern Ireland into a new phase.

Mr Swann said that coronavirus “is likely to stay with us in some form for some time”

He continued: “A large part of what we currently do to protect ourselves is already covered by guidance rather than regulations.

“This includes self-isolating when infected and taking lateral flow tests before meeting up with others. The guidance will continue to emphasise all the steps that we should keep taking to protect each other.

As the hospitality sector will continue to be encouraged to use Covid certificates, Mr Swann said the importance of wearing face coverings in health and social care settings, on public transport and in enclosed indoor settings “will continue to be strongly emphasised”.

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