The time has finally come, All Covid-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland will be dropped from tomorrow and replaced with guidance instead.
Some of the restrictions being removed from law will be, the requirement to wear face-covering in public places.
You will no longer need a Covid certification to gain entry to nightclubs.
The health minister Mr Swan also reiterated his position that there is no current plans to change the current arrangement for testing, contact tracing and isolation.
Mr Swann said:
“With the reduced threat from the Omicron variant, we can move away from an emergency and legalistic framework to a new approach where making safer choices is embedded in our daily lives.
“That means all of us continuing to do our best to cut down risks of infection and transmission.
“It means looking after each other by following the public health guidance. It must always be remembered that taking unnecessary risks with Covid may affect people who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.
“So please do not jump the gun and start behaving as if the pandemic is over. That is not the case.
“While omicron is less severe than previous strains of the virus, community transmission remains very high and hospital pressures significant.
“The most vulnerable as a result of the underlying disease remain susceptible to severe illness and it is important that we all do what we can to protect them.”
He also warned that coronavirus “is likely to stay with us in some form for some time” but he said emergency restrictions cannot remain in place indefinitely.
He also added:
“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.
“I will, of course, keep the situation on regulations under ongoing and detailed review. We cannot rule out a new variant emerging down the line with new interventions being required. I very much hope that will not be the case.”
“The expectation from the public health assessments is that no significant rise in ICU occupancy is expected,” he continued.
“While many people will very much welcome my decision on regulations, I know there will be concerns. Community transmission is still very high and our hospitals remain under severe pressure.
“A sustained effort to follow the public health guidance will help reduce infection numbers and support our health service.”