Nightclub vaccine passport policy in ‘disarray’, leaked letter claims

Vaccine passports (PA Wire)
Vaccine passports (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson has been accused of allowing his vaccine passports plan to descend into chaos as a leaked letter from government lawyers stated that "no final policy decision" had been taken on demanding the passes in nightclubs.

The Prime Minister announced last month that proof of full vaccination would be required to enter nightclubs from the end of September, by which time most adults are expected to have been offered both jabs.

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

On Friday afternoon, a Government spokesman told the paper that "we reserve the right" to require the NHS Covid Pass "in certain settings".

On Saturday night, No 10 stated that the Government was "planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs."

The No 10 spokesman told the publication: "As we made clear when this was announced in July, this is about protecting people in settings where the virus is most likely to spread, and vaccines are the best possible way to do this.”

It comes after several ministers shared concerns over the nightclub Covid pass plans, alongside club owners who warned vaccine passports will harm the industry.

John Clark, who owns popular east London nightclub Faces, said: “There is a lot of confusion out there at the moment with regards to what you actually need to come into a nightclub or anywhere else.”

He added that the four-week delay to reopening and the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 had “knocked a lot of peoples’ confidence”.

Ashley Letchford, co-owner of Clapham nightclub Lit, said: “There’s some hesitancy or even misguided knowledge of the current rules. People may be thinking that vaccine passports were required to come out.

“There’s so much information travelling around and people not actually knowing at this moment in time that you don’t need a vaccine passport to get in.”

While Mr Clark said he would be “more than happy” to support the use of vaccine passports if more guidance was provided, and they were implemented fairly, Mr Letchford said an “alternative” to vaccine passports would “really help our industry”.

He added that the industry is “heavily reliant” on younger demographics, many of whom may not have received both jabs by the end of September and who may be reluctant to do so, and that it was “morally wrong” to be “coercing people into getting the vaccine”.

Downing Street declined to comment.

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