The consultation on Covid Passports, published on 14 September, sets out the government’s aims to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure. If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the government has prepared a Plan B for England.
The government set out its intention that vaccine certification could form part of a Plan B, however, final decisions on the policy have not been made. Under Plan B, in certain settings:
- mandatory vaccine-only certification could be introduced for all visitors aged 18 or over; and
- members of the workforce aged 18 or over in these settings could then be required to test regularly if they are not fully vaccinated
The government invites responses to the detail on the proposed certification regime which could be introduced as part of Plan B. The government is particularly interested in views from businesses, event organisers and venue operators, including from those that have experience of using certification on a voluntary basis over the summer, and on the proposals for the workforce.
The government invites submissions of evidence, and is also engaging with stakeholder representative groups. This opportunity for engagement will enable the government to take into account relevant comments and views, making any warranted revisions.
Responses are requested by 11 October, although the government says stakeholders should submit views as quickly as possible in case there is need to introduce certification, as part of Plan B, at short notice. If Plan B is implemented, it could be at short notice in response to concerning data. The government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.
The government says it intends to take a proportionate approach, balancing the impact on public health with the economic and social impacts by focussing on settings where crowds mix and come into close contact. Mandating vaccine-only certification could allow settings that have experienced long periods of closure to remain open and is preferable to closing venues entirely or reimposing capacity caps or social distancing.
Under Plan B, the government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification for visitors to venues and events, and vaccine-or-test certification for the workforce would be introduced for the following venues and events:
- all nightclubs, and other venues open after 1am with alcohol, music and dancing
- indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions
- outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals
- any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia
There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, such as:
- communal worship
- wedding ceremonies
- other commemorative events
Responses to the call for evidence are required by 11 October, although the government says stakeholders should submit views as quickly as possible in case there is need to introduce certification, as part of Plan B, at short notice. If Plan B is implemented, it could be at short notice in response to concerning data. The government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.
The NTIA will be submitting a comprehensive position on Covid Passports, its challenges and case studies representing businesses within the Night Time Economy. Our representation opposes the consideration for mandatory Covid Passports and we will continue to represent our members in line with their views. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have specific challenges you would like to include within our submission – Email : [email protected]