Night time economy guru slams PM’s plans for vaccine passports

Sacha Lord
X The Business Desk

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Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser has criticised Boris Johnson’s plan to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues in England at the end of September.

The Prime Minister raised the prospect of controls earlier in the summer in a move many interpreted as a nudge to the younger generation to embrace the vaccine programme.

But a spokesperson for the PM confirmed yesterday that he still fully backs the scheme and is unlikely to change policy.

He said: “We set out broadly our intention to require vaccination for nightclubs and some other settings. We will be coming forward in the coming weeks with detail for that.”

It is proposed that punters will have to use the existing NHS app as proof of vaccination to gain entry to venues.

However, Greater Manchester night time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, said the move is likely to hinder an industry which has suffered more than most during lockdowns and restrictions, and could encourage the spread of COVID-19 through unregulated gatherings.

He said: “Last night, Downing Street confirmed it intends to press on with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs from the end of September.

“It’s disappointing that, despite the calls from all sides, including the industry and customers themselves, the Government is continuing to move ahead with this.

“Although I strongly urge everyone to have their vaccine, there remain countless unanswered questions around the implementation and legality of passports, and their discriminatory nature on those who are not eligible for medical reasons, or who choose not to have a vaccine.”

He added: “The measures will cause enormous disruption to an already struggling industry. It will not only encourage a surge of indoor house parties, arguably less safe in terms of security and monitoring alcohol consumption, but the current guidance is extremely open ended as to which operators will be required to enforce checks.

“Why should an open plan nightclub with outdoor terrace, for example, be classed as any less safe than an enclosed 1,000-person office, and where the current wording states ‘large gatherings’, does this include weddings, churches, or even Parliament?”

He said: “We already have sensible, safe precautions across the hospitality sector, and with nightclubs already open we have proof that the current set up is working safely and effectively. I would strongly urge the Government to rethink this plan or the economy will face another severe blow come the end of the month.”