NTIA Scotland welcomes the removal of hospitality restrictions as of January 24th following our repeated representations to protect businesses and livelihoods, in particular the removal of the table service requirement and the reopening of nightclubs and other late night venues.
It is however extremely disappointing that the Vaccination Certification Scheme remains in force, and worse, that It is now proposing further regulation around the repurposing of premises that had previously legitimately taken themselves out of scope.
We have previously provided the Scottish Government with evidence demonstrating the severe financial harm being done to businesses by the vaccine passport scheme, with declines in footfall and sales of up to 40% being reported. And for smaller premises that do not ordinarily require SIA badged doorstaff, enforcement of the scheme presents substantial additional risks and costs, and may in practice be commercially unviable.
It is important that we gain immediate clarity on the Scottish Government’s intention, and the long term plan for this restriction and the guidelines that encompasses it, given its devastating impact on trade.
The policy remains ineffective, discriminatory and disproportionately targeted on night time economy businesses, and the Scottish Government have failed to present any evidence to support its’ efficacy.
Scottish Government must now urgently provide within the new Strategic Framework a pathway for complete removal of vaccine passports at pace, whilst society reopens over the coming weeks, and we all learn to live safely with COVID-19 moving forward.
At a time when the nation is supposed to be moving back to normality and lifting restrictions, there can be no justification for extending the financial harms of covid certification to any additional premises across Scotland, This extension of the scheme is not proportionate and will place an additional burden on the sector at an extremely fragile time.