Plans to force people to show vaccine passports when going to a pub or restaurant have been ditched. Proof of a Covid jab or test will, however, still be required for festivals and sports events, according to reports. The Sun has the story.
Boris Johnson has ditched plans to force customers to show a vaccine passport every time they go into a pub.
In a major boost for the hospitality trade, the PM will exempt bars and restaurants from new Covid safety rules.
Only those attending mass gatherings, such as festivals or major sports events, will be required to provide proof of a jab, test or natural immunity.
Landlords, who can reopen outdoors-only a week tomorrow in England, will soon be free to admit anyone who follows existing guidelines on social distancing and mask-wearing.
Boris’s change of heart came after an angry backlash from 73 MPs who branded the idea “divisive and discriminatory”.
Trials of vaccine passports are still going ahead as planned – the debate over their usage is far from over yet, despite the good news on pubs.
NHS chiefs are developing a new app members of the public will have to show to gain access to sports stadiums, theatres, festivals and nightclubs.
Those without a smartphone will get a paper certificate.
The system will be trialled at nine pilot events over the next few weeks, where experts will also explore how high-tech ventilation and Covid tests on entry are working.
Mr Johnson will study the feedback to help decide how to manage other large-scale gatherings as restrictions are lifted.
Worth reading in full.
Clearly, the idea of domestic Covid passports is not dead. As Fraser Nelson said in the Spectator today: “In theory, the Government is taking soundings. In practice, those involved in Michael Gove’s review have been told that the decision has already been made by the PM: so they’re happening.” While the Government may not force pubs and restaurants to restrict entrance to those with vaccine passports, it will likewise not stop businesses from imposing such limits themselves, as Michael Gove has suggested in an article for the Sunday Telegraph.
At the moment, businesses could set up their own private certification schemes and use them to restrict access. Nightclubs and other venues already police entry. Some may well want to embrace any tool available to signal to visitors they are at low risk of infection.
Also worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The Mirror reports that, while pubs, cafes and restaurants will be allowed to reopen in full without vaccine passports on May 17th, they may be forced to introduce them at some point in the future.
Stop Press 2: This image from the Sun shows where vaccine passports will be required at first.