Image caption, Robin Swann was speaking at a press conference on Monday
Health Minister Robin Swann has said he is taking legal advice on how he can “replace the bulk of remaining Covid-19 restrictions” and that the time to look at removing them is “this week”.
Mr Swann was speaking after the resignation of First Minister Paul Givan.
This was in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Givan’s resignation means the Northern Ireland Executive cannot meet.
The executive – Northern Ireland’s government – was due to discuss removing remaining Covid restrictions on Thursday.
However, Mr Swann said he was not “prepared to allow a failure of politics to get in the way of lifting now unnecessary restrictions”.
“I am now seeking that legal guidance on how I myself can replace the bulk of the remaining restrictions, if not all of them, with clear guidance and advice,” he told a press conference on Monday.
“When we had an executive, ministers always said we wouldn’t retain restrictions for a day longer than necessary, so that same logic should still apply.
“While we must move forward carefully, we can’t stay locked in emergency restrictions forever.
“We need to start getting normal back.”