The UK government has confirmed that it will introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs from the end of September.
This means that patrons will be required to show proof of their vaccine status to gain entry to night-time venues.
“We set out broadly our intention to require our vaccination for nightclubs and some other settings and we’ll be coming forward in the coming weeks with details for that,” said the prime minister’s official spokesperson.
But proposals for the plans have been met with criticism by the night time industry, with two of the biggest nightclub chains in England previously saying they would reopen without checking customers’ Covid-19 vaccination or test status.
Here’s everything you need to know about Covid passports and clubbing:
What is a vaccine passport?
The vaccine passport, also widely called a Covid passport, is an NHS Covid Pass that can be requested via the NHS website or NHS app.
People in England can obtain an NHS Covid Pass two weeks after their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine as long as both doses were administered in England. This will last for 28 days.
You can also request a pass if you’ve had a negative PCR test or lateral flow test result within the past 48 hours and have reported the result on the NHS website. The passes last 48 hours after the test result.
People who have received both jabs can also request an NHS Covid Pass letter if they call 119, which show only vaccination status and has no expiry date.
How do clubs feel about vaccine passports?
Nightclubs have previously said they were largely opposed to the use of vaccine passports, citing concerns that such documentation discriminates against young people who are less likely to have had both doses of a vaccine.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said in a statement: “We have consistently opposed the use of Covid Passports or Covid Status Certificates fro access to industry events and venues, logistically and ethically it presents many issues.
“This is also supported by the recent Covid Status Certificate report carried out by the government, suggesting that the impact of using this method to mitigate risk would be disproportionate to the public health benefit.”
A poll by the NTIA found that eight in 10 nightlife businesses will not ask customers to provide Covid status information to gain entry to venues.
What have ministers said about vaccine passports?
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that checking people’s Covid-19 vaccine status is the “right thing to do” to ensure the whole economy remains open.
He told Sky News on Sunday: “We are looking at, by the end of September when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process.
“If you look at what the FA have done, they’ve done so brilliantly in terms of checking vaccine status to reopen football.
“That is the sort of right thing to do and we are absolutely on track to continue to make sure that we do that.
“There’s a reason for that ... the reason being is that, I, as does the Prime Minister, want to make sure the whole economy remains open.
“The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have a sort of open-shut-open-shut strategy because we see infection rates rise because of the close interaction of people, that’s how the virus spreads, if people are in close spaces in large numbers we see spikes appearing.
“The best thing to do then is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status.”