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Vaccine passports halve late-night sales in Scotland

Published:  27 October, 2021

The data of trading is for the week of 18th October, which was the first week of enforcement of the scheme and not 1st October in the first week of the implementation of the scheme. 

Trading levels for late night businesses were ‘decimated’ in the first week of the Scottish Government’s vaccine passport scheme, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has revealed.

A survey of 100 of its late-night business members on the impact of the scheme, which came into force on 18 October, found that nightclub trade levels dropped by almost half (46%), during the first seven days, with some reporting declines in excess of 60% compared to previous weeks.

Extrapolating the data further, the NTIA said that a 46% decline in trade for nightclubs would represent lost income of £506,000 per year, per venue on average, if the decline continued for a full year.

The research also showed that trade in pubs and bars dropped by one quarter (24%), which would result in lost income of £180,000 on average per year per venue. This is despite 90% of them implementing measures such as decommissioning dance floors or reducing opening hours to take themselves out of the remit of the scheme.

“It is utterly bewildering that Scottish Government have completely ignored the warnings from sectoral experts as to the dire consequences of this scheme,” said Gavin Stevenson, vice chair for NTIA Scotland.

“It has taken just one week for our concerns around market distortion, unfair competition, discrimination, and the severe economic impact to be proven true, while the huge reduction in Covid-19 cases that happened well before the scheme came into effect demonstrates that the scheme is simply not necessary to reduce cases.”

The scheme was officially introduced on 1 October. However, it didn’t become legally enforceable until the 18, which is when venues really started to see an impact on sales. 

Under the terms of the scheme, venues must meet four conditions to implement vaccine passport rules, including being open between midnight and 5am, and serving alcohol after midnight.

The NTIA news follows that from The Scottish Hospitality Group which recently condemned the Scottish Government for not providing enough support.

On Monday (25 October), the Scottish Hospitality Group said the scheme faced its first major test in hospitality as people attended venues for the first weekend since the scheme became legally enforceable.

Over the scheme's first weekend in legally enforceable operation, there were over 550 incidences where venue staff had to reject entry due to the customer having no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.