The UK government’s original plans to introduce coronavirus vaccine passports in order to gain entry into nightclubs and large events in England has now been completely scrapped. The scheme, which received much backlash from industry leaders when it was first announced back in July, was confirmed to be going ahead earlier this month. However, health secretary Sajid Javid has since confirmed the government has reversed this decision and decided not to move forward with it.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show Javid told BBC News. “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead, we shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it. I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it. We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
If the scheme was to go ahead, members of the public would have been required to show proof that they had received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine in order to gain entry to any clubs and other crowded events. It would seem most are in support of this change of plans.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey described the plan as “divisive, unworkable and expensive,” and said that his party would have opposed them had they gone ahead. Labour had also criticised the plans as “unworkable”.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the plans could have crippled the industry and might have seen nightclubs face discrimination cases. The CEO Michael Kill commenting on the new development stated: “Following an intense political and public campaign by the NTIA, its members and wider industry supporters, we welcome the comments from the health secretary this morning regarding the government’s decision to scrap the planned mandate of COVID passports from the end of September.”
He continued “We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.”
Mark Davyd, the CEO of Music Venue Trust, which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues throughout the UK, also shared a statement on the government’s scrapping the vaccine passport scheme.
“The double vaccine certification programme proposed by the government contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination,” Davyd said. “MVT has been describing those problems to Ministers and departments for the last two months, and we therefore welcome the decision to not move forward with this policy.
Davyd concluded his statement that despite not having to need for a vaccine passport “everyone in the live music community to please take a test before attending an event, a personal approach to risk mitigation that is highly effective and makes a real difference to the safety of gigs”.
However, despite the change of heart, the Scottish government announced on Friday (September 10) that from October 1 it will bring in a vaccine passport. Also in Wales, ministers will decide this week if vaccine passports should be used to gain entry to some events.