Decision Whether to Impose Vaccine Passports on Pubs Will Be Made at the “Last Minute”, Says Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford has said that a decision on whether to extend the Welsh Government’s vaccine passport scheme to pubs won’t be taken until the last possible moment, with the Welsh First Minister adding that “circumstances and knowledge are developing so fast”. Drakeford also mentioned that imposing vaccine passports on pubs would not have been taken into consideration if the Omicron variant had never emerged. BBC News has the story.

A decision on whether to extend Covid passes to pubs and restaurants will be made at the “last minute”, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Ministers are to consider whether to expand the scheme over the next week, with the next Covid rules review due on Friday.

Drakeford said the emergence of the Omicron variant has led to knowledge and circumstances developing “so fast”.

The first case of Omicron was confirmed in Wales on Friday.

Covid passes are already required for cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and large events in Wales.

They show if someone has been fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid in the past 48 hours.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they remained opposed to Covid passes because they do not seem to present “additional benefits” to stopping Covid.

But the First Minister told Politics Wales he did not think the Welsh Government would be considering extending passes to hospitality if it had only been dealing with the dominant Delta variant.

He said: “We’ve got another week to go. We will learn a lot in that week about the Omicron virus.

“If we were to do it, it would simply be to help those businesses to stay open and still attracting customers through the door because people would feel confident that everybody else in that setting were either vaccinated or had taken a lateral flow test.

“But we haven’t made that decision, and we won’t make that decision right up until the day we have to, because circumstances and knowledge are developing so fast around the new variant that you ought to wait to have the maximum amount of information that you can.”

Sam Rowlands, Conservative Member of the Senedd (MS) for North Wales, said the Government should ensure “every part of our energies” is put in to rolling out booster jabs rather than extending use of the pass.

“With that you could see much better walk-in centres – rapid roll-out of walk-in centres across the country,” he said.

Plaid Cymru deputy leader Sian Gwenllian MS said: “We need to rely on the evidence and listen to what the experts say before bringing in any new regulations but if they are needed, they are needed.”

Drakeford said he could not claim the Covid pass scheme was making a difference “above the fact that it makes that extra marginal difference alongside everything else you do”.

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