Scotland’s Vaccine Passport Scheme ‘A Disaster’, say Hospitality Group

The first weekend of enforcement of Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme has been an “unmitigated disaster”, according to The Scottish hospitality Group (SHG).

SHG said that staff have faced “intolerable levels of abuse” with a drop in footfall of up to 40% is some venues.

The SHG has now called on the Scottish Government to abandon the scheme, which has been in force for just one week.

Venues accommodating large groups such as night clubs and events, and also late-night premises with music,  alcohol and dancing between midnight and 5am  now require proof of full vaccination as part of the Scottish Government’s endeavors to limit the spread of Covid and increase vaccine take-up among the Scottish population.

The measures were in fact introduced from October 1, however an 18-extension period was ranted following backlash from affected industries and substantial problems with the new app.

SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: “The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish Government.

“The Scottish Hospitality Group has been warning the government for weeks that their vaccine passports scheme is not ready but the government’s attitude has been to tell us to ‘get on with it’ whilst offering no safety net of support for businesses or our hard-working staff.

“The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.”

SGH said that over the weekend (October 22- 24) its members reported over 500 instances where venue staff had to refuse entry to a customer because they had no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.

There were also a “concerning number” of reports of abuse of hospitality staff over rejections and queues at venues, and continuing problems were reported with the vaccine passport app and its update.

Mr Montgomery said the SHG is seeing some venues closing at midnight to “take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare”.

He said: “The Scottish hospitality industry as a whole has paid enough for government failures in this pandemic, and it’s time the Scottish Government scrapped this scheme altogether.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Covid-19 certification is a proportionate way of encouraging people to get vaccinated, and also of helping large events and night-time hospitality to keep operating during what will potentially be a very difficult winter.

“This means many businesses will not have to close and can continue to trade whilst making necessary adjustments to ensure their premises are as safe as possible for staff and customers.

“Officials continue to engage regularly with the sector to discuss implementation of the scheme.”