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Scottish vaccine passport plan ‘threat hanging over the whole hospitality industry’

Published:  02 September, 2021

Industry bodies have voiced their concern following the Scottich government’s announcement yesterday that vaccine passports will be required for entry to nightclubs and many large events in the country from later this month.

The plans will apply to indoor and outdoor events and will mean people over the age of 18 will need to show they have had two jabs before they are allowed entry to nightclubs and adult entertainment venues; unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience; unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience; and any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move, which will need to be signed off by Holyrood next week, was needed to help stem the recent surge in the number of Covid cases. 

 The hospitality industry as a whole would not be included in the certification scheme – although that decision would be kept under review, she added.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) however said the move was “a threat hanging over the whole of the hospitality industry”. 

MD Colin Wilkinson said: “Although the suggestion is that the wider hospitality industry will not be affected should the Scottish government agree to introduce of ‘Covid passports’ next week, it is a most unwelcome development for the licensed trade in general.

“But a simple question is: where is the evidence that this is required for nightclubs and what is a nightclub? We are seeing a large spike in infection rates following the general reopening of the economy when a number of sectors fully reopened and Scottish schools have been opened for two weeks, universities and colleges are about to open, but night clubs alone have been targeted with the possible introduction of a Covid status certification system at this time.”

Meanwhile, UK Hospitality (UKH) has urged the Scottish government to talk to industry leaders following the announcement.

“The fact there has been no attempt to engage with the sector ahead of this announcement is extremely concerning. Nightclubs and event organisers will be on the front line of implementing this policy and representatives need an opportunity to ask questions of the Scottish government’s plans before they are put to the Scottish parliament for approval,” said Leon Thompson, UKH Scotland executive director. 

In England, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has condemned the government’s confirmation on Tuesday that it would press on with its Covid passport strategy for nightclubs and indoor gatherings in the country.

“Confirmation the government will continue to press on with the Covid passport strategy for nightclubs and indoor gatherings, even against a furious backlash from MPs across the House of Commons and industry leaders, is disappointing as it will cripple the industry,” said CEO Michael Kill.