Jason Leitch said that people should do a “version of Covid certification” without the law telling them to, by taking a lateral flow device (LFD) test and ensuring they are vaccinated before they socialise.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has said she is not asking people to put Christmas plans on hold at the moment following the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, but urged people to take an LFD test before mixing with other households.
Nine cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Scotland and booster vaccinations are being extended to all those aged 18.
Mr Leitch told Times Radio: “Our tone is now, if you are going to meet people outside your household, test.”
He added: “We should all have a version of Covid certification without the law telling us to Covid certify.
“So I’m going to have Christmas dinner with my sister and her husband and my mum and dad.
“I’m not going to check their certificate at the door before my mum comes for turkey, but she is 81 and she will do a Covid test, she will do a lateral flow test before she comes, she’s had her booster and I can be as certain as I can that the environment I’m bringing her into is as safe as I can make it.
“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to have Christmas dinner and we’re not going to have a fun day but she will Covid certify before she comes.
“And I’m not going to QR scan her at the door but if we can all think in those terms.”
The booster vaccinations extension is being carried out in line with the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendation, with the interval after the second dose cut from six to three months.
Mr Leitch said that vaccinating the extra one million people now eligible for the booster jab is a “big challenge” but that authorities are working to facilitate it.
He said: “Now that can’t happen on a single Thursday, you can’t suddenly do the extra million people who are now eligible, so we’ve got to do that in an ordered way, we’re going to work our way down through the ages.
“We’ve already opened to over 40s and next we’ll open down through those groups and we’ll tell the 18-39 year olds how to do that in the next little while.”