People will be able to use their vaccination card alongside photographic ID to gain access to premises covered by the Covid certification scheme for an interim period, Robin Swann has said.
The Health Minister revealed that 86,000 people have applied to the domestic certification scheme this week.
But he also said that a helpline to give assistance to those applying for the paper or digital certificates is currently dealing with 3,000 calls a day.
Mr Swann urged more people to apply for the certificates which are mandatory in licensed premises, as well as cinemas and theatres.
People entering these premises will be asked for proof of vaccination or a negative test result under the regulations which were introduced on Monday.
But there will be a short grace period, with no fines issued until December 13.
The issue has caused controversy in the Executive, with the DUP opposing mandatory Covid certification.
MLAs are set to debate the regulations next week.
Mr Swann 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.”
Almost 86,000 people have applied for their Domestic Cert through COVIDCert NI since Monday— Department of Health (@healthdpt) December 3, 2021
In total, over 250,000 users have activated their Domestic Cert
Apply online https://t.co/TToosuYqNk
Don't have a 📱? Call 0300 200 7814 to request a paper copyhttps://t.co/LfZaGC5yrL pic.twitter.com/lvTXA9gCUa
He added: “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.”