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Scottish hospitality sector relieved as passport scheme not extended

Published:  24 November, 2021

Yesterday's announcement by the Scottish government that the Covid-19 passport scheme will not be expanded to encompass the wider licensed hospitality industry has been met with relief and jubilation.

In a further reprieve to struggling businesses, Nicola Sturgeon's administration announced that customers will be allowed to present a negative test, rather than proof of two vaccines, to enter venues that fall under the Covid-19 regulations. This change will come into force on 6 December.

The news was welcomed by Colin Wilkinson, MD of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

“Indications were that a widening of the vaccine certification scheme to pubs, bars, restaurants would be brought in, forcing many premises into closure,” he said.

“A recent joint industry survey found that, for those businesses currently enforcing the policy, 95% have been negatively impacted and 87% had seen trade reduced by over 20%, with some reporting falls in trade of as much as 60% since the introduction of the Covid passport scheme,” he added.

The announcement was also met with enthusiastic approval by UKHospitality Scotland. Its executive director Leon Thompson commented: “The First Minister’s announcement that Covid vaccine passports will not be extended comes as welcome relief to hospitality businesses.”

She added: “The Scottish Government has listened and responded to the overwhelming evidence presented, which clearly demonstrates the damaging impact any extension of the scheme would have on our fragile sector. This is very good news and provides some respite for businesses working hard to maximise trade across the festive period.”