As of this morning (April 14) 72 licensed premises and events businesses have signed up to a charter confirming that they will not request vaccine passports of visitors to enter their premises.
The charter, organised by Alan Miller, co-founder of the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), has so far been signed by business owners from a cross-section of the hospitality and licensed on trade, pubs and bars, nightclubs and restaurants and event organisers.
The charter’s homepage reads “We have no axe to grind politically and many of us think the vaccine roll-out has been tremendous for those who wish to take it. We also know that for many reasons some will not have a vaccine.”
“Furthermore, we do not believe it is right that we, as premises and promoters, should demand to see proof of medical records or health status. The majority of people in the UK have chosen to be vaccinated.”
“There are many practical and logistical issues for us alongside civil liberty and discrimination considerations more broadly for society if venues or events insist on seeing any kind of health-related documents.”
“For that reason, we have signed up to the Licensed Premises & Events Charter – OPEN FOR ALL which means that we shall not be forcing our patrons to show us any documentation referring to health status in order to gain entry.”
Since the first vaccines against Covid-19 were approved in autumn 2020, vaccine passports have been discussed by academics, politicians, and health experts as a possible way to allow vaccinated people to move more freely. By proving their vaccinated status, they could engage in activities like travelling abroad, working in settings where people are at high-risk, or visiting a pub.
Vaccine passports have also been described as “immunity certificates”, and the UK government has called them “COVID status certification”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson first suggested that vaccine passports might be used for international travel in February 2021, and the UK government has launched a review which will report in June.
The government has said vaccine passports are “likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes” and “could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity”.
It also said they could play a role in easing social distancing requirements, particularly within hospitality settings. However, the government has also acknowledged the possible implications for businesses and customers and said this will be considered in consultation with the industry as part of the review of social distancing rules.
The implementation of vaccine passports in the hospitality and on trade has been described as a “nightmare” by industry trade bodies which will place staff in a difficult and possibly confrontational positions as well as possibly damaging trade.
A petition calling on the government not to implement vaccine passports currently stands at 342,000.