Proposals to introduce vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and large events in England will not go ahead, the health secretary has said.
Speaking yesterday (September 12) Health Secretary Sajid Javid: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.” He said they had looked at the evidence before going ahead with the vaccine passport scheme.
He added: “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans.”
It was thought the proposals, which came under criticism from venues and some MPs, would be introduced at the end of this month.
Earlier this month, the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi had defended the scheme as the “best way” to keep the night industry open.
The government emphasized that the plan, which had been set to be introduced at the end of this month, would be kept “in reserve” should it be needed over autumn or winter.
Under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof – whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test – in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.
Now the Music Venue Trust has welcomed the decision.
It said in a statement: “The double vaccine certification programme proposed by the government contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination. 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.
“It is important to reiterate that grassroots music venues want the tools to be able to create safe events. They are experts in risk mitigation, and there is ample evidence that working alongside the live community a great deal has already been achieved to reopen every venue safely.
“Our issue with double vaccination certification as a sole requirement of entry was that it was highly unlikely to achieve improved safety above and beyond those measures already in place and highly likely to create a two tier night time economy which divided venues and customers.
“We await formal confirmation from the government of the scrapping of these problematic passports.
“Meanwhile we continue to encourage 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.”
The Night Time Industries Association issued a stark warning about vaccine passports “crippling the industry”.
chief executive Michael Kill said: “following an intense political am public campaign by NTIA its members and wider industry supporters, we welcomed 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. We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, or regain confidence from its customers and the workforce an starts to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic”.