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Business failures and job losses loom with Welsh Covid passports

Published:  20 September, 2021

The introduction of Covid-19 passports for venues in Wales will be an extra burden that could bring business failures before the end of the year, industry bodies have warned.

The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said last week that late night venues and large events would require the showing of an NHS Covid Pass from October 11.

UK Hospitality (UKH) has already said a mandatory Covid vaccine passport 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.”

While England is currently not implementing Covid passports, Scotland is to introduce the policy on October 1. The Scottish passport plan has already been described as a “threat hanging over the whole hospitality industry”.

“Welsh brewers and pubs are at a critical stage in their recovery, so an early indication that Covid certification will not apply to pubs is vital. Layering restrictions back on could mean businesses not surviving to the end of the year, resulting in the loss of jobs, homes and the heart of communities,” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Welsh Beer & Pub Association, said.

“Our sector already implements the highest standards in Health & Safety and hygiene. We remain committed to working with the Welsh Government to limit the spread of the virus, whilst allowing the hospitality sector to trade viably.”

UKH executive director for Wales, David Chapman, said the decision comes despite several weeks of meetings where the organisation raised concerns about the policy.

“The news that Covid passports are to be required for entry into Welsh nightclubs and some large events from October 11 is incredibly disappointing,” he said.

“Those affected businesses, already in a fragile state following repeated lockdowns and periods of onerous trading restrictions, now find themselves facing further economic and resourcing pressures. It is likely that this extra burden will prove the last straw for some operators, who will be forced to finally close, resulting in job losses.”