Nightclubs and other large venues in England will be legally required to prohibit entry to customers if they have not been vaccinated as part of the effort to increase uptake among the young, the Prime Minister has announced.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to “serve notice” that both doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be a condition of entry for venues with large crowds from the end of September, when all over-18s will have been offered two jabs.
Announcing the move in the Commons, minister for COVID vaccine deployment Nadhim Zahawi said: “I encourage businesses to draw on support and use the NHS covid pass in the weeks ahead. We will be keeping a close watch on how it is used by venues and we reserve the right to mandate it. By the end of September everyone aged 18 and over will have the chance to receive full vaccination and the additional two weeks for that protection to really take hold.
“At that point we make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.
“Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient. Any decisions will of course be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.”
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This announcement comes as a hammer blow on a day when nightclubs, a sector that has been closed by the Government for 16 months, were finally given hope that they could start to trade viably and make progress toward rebuilding and paying off accrued debts. Covid passports will be a costly burden that run the risk of creating flashpoints between staff and customers, as well as raising potential issues with equalities legislation and the handling of customer data. As recently as last week the Government asked us to work with them on a voluntary scheme, so this new policy is devastating and risks hitting these fragile businesses and derailing their recovery and costing thousands of jobs.”
Alex Proud, owner of Proud nightclubs, said: “I find it deeply worrying and frustrating because it’s discriminatory against younger people who are less likely to have been able to have the vaccinations.”
“We emphasise that we’ve invested in sanitation and we feel these measures are adequate rather than overly authoritarian Covid passports,” he told the BBC
Michael Kill, who runs the Night Time Industries Association, said: “We have consistently opposed the use of Covid passports for access to industry events and venues, logistically it presents many issues, supported by the recent Covid status certificate report administered by government, steering us clear from the use of this method to mitigate risk.”