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UKH: ‘Mandatory vaccine passports unworkable’

Published:  06 September, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has said a mandatory Covid vaccine passports scheme for certain venues and events would be unworkable, cause conflict between staff and customers and would force business to deal with “complex equality rules”.

The statement follows reports of government plans to introduce vaccine passports, which were followed by reports over the weekend confirming such plans.

“Introducing a scheme such as this will be a hammer blow to businesses such as nightclubs that were closed by the government for nearly 18 months, and have only recently been able to trade viably and make progress toward rebuilding and paying off accrued debts,” said UKH CEO Kate Nicholls.

“Over the past year our sector has been devastated and businesses have only known forced closure or the most severe restrictions. This policy will be devastating for businesses that remain fragile and will certainly derail recovery and cost thousands of jobs,” she said.

Operators might even be forced into a position where they would have to let unvaccinated staff go, she added, at a time when there are record levels of staff shortages across the industry.

It was confirmed yesterday (Sunday) by government that vaccine passports in nightclubs and other indoor venues in England will be required at the end of this month. 

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said it was the right time to start the scheme for sites with large crowds as all over-18s would have been offered two jabs by then.

Zahawi said it would ensure the economy could remain open. ”The best way we can keep those industries open in my view, in our view, is to work with the industry," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"One thing that we have learnt is that in large gatherings of people, especially indoors, the virus tends to spike and spread,” he said.

Last week, industry bodies voiced their concern following the Scottich government’s announcement that vaccine passports would be required for entry to nightclubs and many large events in the country from later this month.