Could Boris Bottle It on Vaccine Passports?

A leaked letter from Government lawyers reveals that “no final policy decision has yet been taken” on introducing vaccine passports in nightclubs and other “large venues”, sparking confusion among hospitality leaders. Hugh Osmond, the Founder of Punch Taverns, sums the mess up nicely: “As so often, rushed rhetoric without any thought to the implications, practicalities or ramifications.” The Sunday Telegraph has the story.

The Prime Minister had said that full vaccination will be a condition of entry for nightclubs and large venues by the end of September, in a move that sparked a backlash by hospitality industry leaders and divided opinion among ministers.

But in a letter written on behalf of Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, last week, the Government Legal Department stated that “no final policy decision has yet been taken” in relation to the issue, adding that “any further announcements will be made in due course”.

The letter appears at odds with comments by Boris Johnson who has said those attending nightclubs and “other venues where large crowds gather” in England will need to be fully vaccinated from that date. …

On Friday afternoon, a Government spokesman simply said that “we reserve the right” to require the NHS Covid Pass “in certain settings”.

But on Saturday night, Number 10 intervened to state explicitly that the Government was “planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs.” …

The ambiguity over the Government’s approach comes after it emerged last month that several ministers had expressed concerns about the plans, including due to the timing of Mr. Johnson’s announcement alongside the July 19th reopening, fears over a possible clash with equalities legislation, and the potential risk of legal action against venues. …

Michael Kill, Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “It seems ludicrous that the Government is falling into a continual cycle of announcing new rules and policies around mitigations through ministers, when it is clear that decisions have not yet been made. All of this on top of the fact that businesses are suffering from further uncertainty, resulting in a drop in trading levels and workforce confidence.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Perhaps the ‘confusion’ is just another way of “coercing and abusing young people”, says Hugh.

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