Responding to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) are launching a legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s Covid ID card policy, and lack of consultation.
From October, people will need proof they have had two doses of vaccine to enter certain venues and large events.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the scheme would help reduce transmission of the virus and keep clubs open, however, the NTIA said there were “serious flaws” with the plans, and has instructed its lawyers to commence legal proceedings against the Scottish government.
It is requesting a court order to suspend the launch of the vaccine passport scheme until its case can be heard.
In a statement they said the scheme raises “serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact amongst others”.
Adding: “It is also clear to us that the policy as currently proposed is neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful.
“Regrettably then, and given the serious flaws in the policy as proposed, we have now instructed our legal team to commence proceedings against the Scottish Government with a legal challenge to vaccination passports.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Rather than recognise that Covid ID cards are not an effective or proportionate solution, the Scottish Government have expanded the scope of the policy sucking in a host of venues who did not expect to be included.
“No wonder the night time industry is in uproar. They’re being treated as disposable by the Government.
“It’s a shame that the willingness of the industry to work on jointly acceptable solutions is not matched by SNP ministers. Hopefully this legal action will turn out to be last orders for this illiberal Covid ID card scheme.
“The Scottish Government should cut their losses and plough the resources that are going into this wasteful scheme into fixing our testing and tracing operation and ringing all of those who have yet to have two doses of the vaccine to encourage them to book an appointment.”
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s announced definition of nightclubs, UKHospitality’s Executive Director for Scotland, Leon Thompson, said: “Today the First Minister confirmed that the definition of a nightclub, devised by Scottish Government officials and approved by ministers, will capture swathes of Scotland’s night time economy. Not sticking to the stated aim of vaccine certification for nightclubs has brought the potential for businesses serving alcohol after midnight within scope.
“UKHospitality Scotland 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.
“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.”