Two-week delay to enforcement of Scotland's vaccine passport scheme

28 September 2021 by
Two-week delay to enforcement of Scotland's vaccine passport scheme

Scotland's vaccine passport scheme for late-night hospitality businesses will not be enforced until two weeks after it is introduced.

From 1 October anyone over the age of 18 visiting certain venues or large-scale events will need to provide proof of vaccination.

However, the Scottish government has announced a two and a half week ‘grace period' before this is legally enforced.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said this would allow businesses to "test, adapt and build confidence" in managing the changes.

"This is a very limited scheme and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter," he added.

Restaurants, pubs, hotels and nightclubs will be required to ask for proof of vaccination if they serve alcohol between midnight and 5am, have a dance floor, and play live or recorded music. Only those that meet all three conditions will need to comply.

The scheme will also be used for unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in attendance, outdoor events with more than 4,000 people, and any event attended by more than 10,000 people.

The Night Time Industries Association in Scotland has launched a legal challenge to the plans, which it called "deeply flawed".

Venues must ensure there is a ‘reasonable and proportionate' system to bar entry to those without certification.

Customers' vaccine certificates can be checked by scanning a QR code on the NHS Scotland Covid Check app, or by visual inspection of paper copies. Guidance suggests wristbands be given to those admitted.

Receptions for weddings, civil partnerships and funerals will not be subject to the scheme.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said it remained opposed to the use of vaccine passports but welcomed a Scottish government pledge to provide £25m to help smaller businesses improve their ventilation systems.

"This is excellent news as it will help licensed premises improve their ventilation and ensure the safety of customers and staff," said managing director Colin Wilkinson.

Similar plans for a vaccine certification scheme in England were dropped, but the government said it was keeping the measure as a ‘Plan B' for managing the virus during the autumn and winter months.

In Wales, vaccine passports will become mandatory for entry to nightclubs and large-scale events from 11 October.

The Northern Ireland Executive has yet to agree a position on the issue.

Photo: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

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