Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that venues in England hosting mass events, such as nightclubs and concert halls, will be required to make use of vaccine passports, with the new ruling expected to be introduced by the end of this month.
Speaking on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Zahawi said: “By the end of September, when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process”
"I, as does the prime minister, want to make sure the whole economy remains open. The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have an open, shut, open, shut strategy."
Despite Zahawi’s claims that the use of vaccine passports is imminent for businesses in England, no specific date has yet been given as to when the policy will become mandatory. Neither has any guidance been published on what constitutes a large venue or a mass event.
In a statement to the press, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “A scheme introducing mandatory Covid passports for certain venues and events will be unworkable, cause conflict between staff and customers and will force businesses 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 other news, UK food manufacturers have pleaded with the government to allow them to employ prisoners to help tackle alarming staff shortages.