Covid vaccine certificates to be compulsory for crowded venues in England from later this month

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Covid vaccine certificates to be compulsory for crowded venues in England from later this month

Related tags Coronavirus Vaccine passport Nightclub Government

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that Covid vaccine certificates will be required for entry into nightclubs and other mass indoor venues in England from the end of this month.

Zahawi said the planned introduction of so-called 'vaccine passports', which was first announced back in July​, would ensure the economy could remain open, but trade body UKHospitality has warned the scheme will be 'unworkable' for operators and could lead to job losses at a time when there are record levels of staff shortages across the industry.

Details regarding exactly when the plan will come into force remains unclear, as does specifications on what other indoor settings the Covid vaccine certificates will be required in beyond night-time economy venues. 

Speaking on BBC's Andrew Marr Show​, the Vaccines Minister said: "When the evidence that you are presented is so clear cut and that we want to make sure the industry doesn't have to go through [an]open-shut, open-shut sort of strategy, then the right thing to do is to introduce [Covid status certificates] by the end of September when all over 18 year-olds have had their two jabs."

Unlike during the various pilot events for mass gatherings that took place earlier this year, where attendees were allowed to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test, the new scheme will make full vaccination the sole condition of entry.

Commenting on the plans, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “A scheme introducing mandatory Covid passports for certain venues and events will be unworkable, cause conflict between staff and customers and will force business to deal with complex equality rules. Operators may even be forced into a position where they have to let unvaccinated staff go, at a time when there are record levels of staff shortages across the industry.

“The hospitality sector has invested heavily to ensure customers are safe and we have proved venues are Covid secure. Introducing a scheme such as this will be a hammer blow to businesses such as nightclubs that were closed by the Government for nearly 18 months, and have only recently been able to trade viably and make progress toward rebuilding and paying off accrued debts.

“Over the past year our sector has been devastated and businesses have only known forced closure or the most severe restrictions. This policy will be devastating for businesses that remain fragile and will certainly derail recovery and cost thousands of jobs.”

In June, The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published a report​ that concluded the introduction of 'vaccine passports' would place fresh burdens on industries, such as hospitality, which have already suffered significantly as a result of Coronavirus measures.

It also stated that the introduction of a Covid-status certification system would have a negative impact on the UK’s cultural, social and economic interests.

Last week, the Scottish Government set out plans to introduce 'vaccine passports' for entry to nightclubs​ in the country. 

MSPs will be asked to vote on the plans, and if they pass the scheme will also be introduced later this month.

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