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UKH: ‘Vaccine passport scheme would create confusion and inequality’

Published:  25 March, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has warned against the use of a vaccine passport scheme as a condition of removing restrictions for on-trade visits, branding it “unworkable”. 

The possibility of a vaccine certificate was mentioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, who told MPs it "may be up to individual publicans”.

The trade body cautioned that a voluntary scheme would create “confusion and inequality” among businesses, customers and staff and would act as a de-facto open ended delay to the reopening process.

Moreover, UKH also opposed the introduction of a mandatory passport scheme, saying it would be “unworkable, cause conflict and could be counter to equality rules”.

It was “crucial” that visiting the pub and other parts of hospitality should not be subject to mandatory vaccination certification, said CEO Kate Nicholls.

“Even introduced on a voluntary basis, vaccine passports have the potential to cause huge amounts of confusion among businesses, customers and staff. It could potentially give rise to a two-tier system of viability among businesses and a situation in which young staff members, due to be vaccinated last, are able to work in a pub, but not able to visit it socially,” she said. 

Moreover, she added, that there was a concern among businesses that the eventual rolling back of restrictions, vital to business survival, could be linked to the use of a vaccine passport scheme. 

“That cannot be allowed to happen. It would put businesses owners in a hugely invidious position and has the potential to effectively impose further unnecessary restrictions on businesses that cannot or will not operate a passport scheme. We need to avoid any further measures that give rise to the potential of further restrictions,” she said. 

Today's warning follows UKH's warning yesterday that the business rates relief cap would jeopardise the future of thousands of hospitality venues, which will face full rates bills within weeks following the unrestricted opening of the sector planned for June.