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Scottish passport plans ‘capture swathes’ of the night time economy

Published:  22 September, 2021

The Scottish vaccine passport plans are likely to cover more venues than just nightclubs after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the details of the plans yesterday.

She revealed that the scheme would come into force at 5am on Friday 1 October.

It will apply to nightclubs and similar venues; to live indoor unseated events of more than 500 people; to live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people; and to any event of more than 10,000 people.

Earlier this month industry bodies voiced their concern that the Scottish vaccine passport plan was a ‘threat hanging over the whole hospitality industry

Sturgeon revealed that certification would be required for any venue that meets four conditions. These are that it is open between midnight and 5am, it serves alcohol after midnight, it provides live or recorded music for dancing, and it has a designated space - which is actually in use - where dancing is permitted.

“Let me stress that certification will be required only if all four of those factors apply,” she said.

She added that detailed draft guidance would be published ahead of the regulations setting out clearly what each sector needed to do.

Venues will be required to take “all reasonable measures” to implement the scheme.

Once the scheme is launched, anyone going to a venue or event, which requires certification, will be required, if asked, to show their vaccine record.

However, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, Leon Thompson, said that the First Minister confirmation and the definition of a nightclub, would “capture swathes” of Scotland’s nighttime economy.

“Not sticking to the stated aim of vaccine certification for nightclubs has brought the potential for businesses serving alcohol after midnight within scope,” he warned.

UKHospitality Scotland had argued for a narrow definition, similar to that which the Scottish Government used when allocating financial support during lockdown.

“The decision to go broad will impact on even more of our most vulnerable businesses, many only just reopened and struggling with crippling and ever-mounting debts,” he added.

“With only days until vaccine passports come into force and no guidance or public information available – nor any assessment on business or equality impacts in place – business confidence has once more been shattered, whilst the public is left in the dark on what they need to do in order to enjoy a night out with friends.”