Scottish passport scheme labelled a "unmitigated disaster"

26 October, 2021

Following the first weekend of enforced the vaccine passport scheme in Scotland, night-time venue operators are calling the scheme an "unmitigated disaster".

Reports suggest that venue staff refused entry to more than 550 people without passports with some staff receiving abuse. The result was that some venues decided to close early and footfall was down by up to 40%.

The Scottish government said the scheme was a "proportionate" health measure and Ministers say it will encourage more people to get vaccinated and ensure late-night venues can remain open during a "potentially very difficult" winter.

The scheme was introduced on 1st October but there was no enforcement during a 17-day "grace period" as venues adjusted to the new requirements.

The Scottish Hospitality Group, which opposes the scheme, said the first real test this weekend had been "one of unmitigated disaster".

The group said there was a "concerning number" of reports of staff being abused over rejections and queues which led to a "charged atmosphere".

Some venues had decided to close at midnight, taking them outside the scope of the scheme, because of problems with staff recruitment and welfare, it said.

The Scottish government insisted it was continuing to engage with the sector to discuss implementation of the scheme.

How the Scottish vaccine passport scheme works:

People who have had two vaccines in Scotland can download or get a paper copy of a certificate with a QR code.

Everyone over the age of 18 must now show - if asked - that they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to certain venues and events.

These include:

• Nightclubs and "analogous venues"
• Adult entertainment venues
• Unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, even if some are seated
• Unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people
• Any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance
The scheme requires venues to put in place a "reasonable system" to check the status of customers, with certain exemptions on medical grounds.

For large events such as football matches spot checks can be used, but for smaller gatherings more rigorous checking is required.

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