Government reconsiders 'vaccine passports'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government reconsiders 'vaccine passports'

Related tags Vaccine passport Government Hospitality Coronavirus lockdown

The Government is reportedly considering plans to introduce so-called 'vaccine passports' for hospitality in the autumn, despite a recent review concluding there should be no legal requirements for their use.

According to The Times​, Covid-status certificates would be required for customers to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs in England under plans to tackle an anticipated fourth wave of the virus.

Customers would have to prove they have had either had both doses of the vaccine, or a negative test the day before.

Experts hope the move will boost jab rates among the young.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm this afternoon (12 July) that almost all remaining Covid-19 restrictions will be removed next Monday (19 July)​, heralding a return to normality after 16 months of on-off lockdown measures.

Wearing face coverings will no longer be compulsory; all social distancing measures will be scrapped; and hospitality businesses will no longer be required to collect customer details for track and trace.

A recent review into the use of 'vaccine passports' concluded there should be no legal requirements for their use as a condition of entry for any setting, but the Government has said businesses will be able to voluntarily adopt certification.

Government sources told The Times ​it had been decided not to force Covid-19 certificates to be used as part of the easing of restrictions this month because it would discriminate against younger people who had not had their second jab.

However, by mid-September ministers say all over-18s will have had the chance to have both jabs and officials believe that vaccination passports could be mandated for use in premises where social distancing is not possible.

“In autumn vaccine passports could become an important tool that will allow us to keep things open,” a Downing Street source said.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, has said the introduction of vaccine passports would represent 'lockdown restrictions by any other name' for the hospitality sector.

Speaking on Sky News ​at the weekend, she said: "Very few hospitality businesses have door staff on for the entire time they are open, so [the introduction of vaccine passports] would come at a significant cost.

"Hospitality businesses operate on very small net-profit margins. They need to have 75% of normal revenue levels before they break even, so any additional - particularly on the staffing line - pushes them into a loss making and closer to the edge of not being viable."

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