Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme is not being extended to pubs and restaurants, as well as other venues despite the “precarious” situation the country faces with coronavirus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had concluded it would not be “proportionate” to increase the remit of the scheme, which requires people to prove they have been double jabbed when visiting nightclubs and attending large events.
Ministers had been considering extending covid passport conditions of entry to pubs bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, however Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood that after making a “very, very finely balanced decision” they had at this stage “decided not to extend the scope “of the scheme”.
We have considered the inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the operation of businesses, and concluded that, at this stage, extension would not be proportionate” she said.
However, the first minister did warn that the scheme could yet be extended into a wider range of settings “if our situation does deteriorate”.
“We’ll continue to liaise closely with businesses about this and about what they must do in the coming weeks to minimise that risk,” said Sturgeon.
And there will be a tweak to the vaccine passport scheme as it stands.
From 6th December customers visiting venues covered by the scheme will be able to show proof of a recent negative lateral flow test instead of their vaccination status.
“Doing so will also ensure the scheme remains proportionate going forward and also help our wider efforts to stem transmission through greater use of LFD tests more generally,” said the first minister.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson, said:
“The First Minister’s announcement that Covid vaccine passports will not be extended comes as welcome relief to hospitality businesses. The Scottish Government has listened and responded to the overwhelming evidence presented, which clearly demonstrates the damaging impact any extension of the scheme would have on our fragile sector. This is very good news and provides some respite for businesses working hard to maximise trade across the festive period.
“We all have our part to play in reducing the spread of Covid. Hospitality will continue to do its bit, keeping customers and workers safe, with many operators going above and beyond the Scottish Government’s baseline measures.
“The acceptance of a negative lateral flow test may help some businesses currently covered by the scheme. It remains to be seen what it will bring to those hospitality businesses in the late-night economy. UKHospitality Scotland will continue to work to ensure that vaccination passports are not expanded in the future and to remove the burden they impose on businesses currently covered by them.”