Two-week grace period to apply to Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme – Sturgeon

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The Scottish Government is to delay enforcement of vaccine passports by introducing a two-week grace period for venues, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister told MSPs in the Scottish Parliament that the scheme for nightclubs, adult entertainment venues and large capacity events will come into effect from 5am on Friday.

However, venues which fail to obey the new rules will not face punishment for another 17 days.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon updated MSPs (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said she had made the change after listening to the “reasonable concerns of business”.

“I can therefore confirm that after the legal obligation comes into force at 5am on Friday, this week, we intend to allow a further period of slightly more than two weeks – until October 18 – before any business could face enforcement action for non-compliance,” she said.

“This period – effectively a grace period – will allow businesses to test, adapt and build confidence in the practical arrangements they will need to put in place to be compliant with the scheme.”

An NHS Covid Status App – which will provide a digital record of a user’s vaccination status, including a QR code for each vaccination a person has received – will go live on Thursday.

The First Minister also confirmed that capacity limits – and the associated exemption process – which have been in place for stadia and live events will be scrapped.

The vaccine passports scheme will mean those over the age of 18 attending a club, events of more than 500 people, live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people or any event of more than 10,000 people will have to show proof of vaccination.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) previously said it instructed lawyers to challenge the scheme.

MS Sturgeon also told MSPs that Public Health Scotland is developing “additional surveillance safeguards to help guard against the risk of new variants” entering the country through travel.

She said these arrangements will not incur costs for travellers.

The latest figures show Scotland recorded 16 coronavirus deaths and 2,370 cases in the past 24 hours, the latest Scottish Government figures show.

A total of 1,027 people were in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up by four, with 73 patients in intensive care, down by three.

Ms Sturgeon welcomed the falling numbers of coronavirus infections.

She said the average number of new Covid-19 cases had halved in the past three weeks and is now below the previous peak of early July.

The First Minister told MSPs there had been “significant declines” in all age groups but the steepest falls were among people aged 15 to 24.

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