Covid vaccine passports ‘discriminatory’, says pub industry boss

Plans for ‘Covid passports’ in pubs and restaurants to be struck off menu, report says

Officials to focus on Covid certification for mass events and ‘higher-risk settings’

Kate Ng
Wednesday 28 April 2021 22:41

The use of Covid status certificates in pubs and restaurants will not become mandatory in the coming months as the government appears likely to recommend they only be used for mass events, it has been reported.

A government review into Covid certification, or so-called vaccine passports, by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is still ongoing and is expected to produce a report next month.

But according to the Guardian, Mr Gove will set out progress on the review in a written statement to the Commons as soon as Thursday.

The newspaper cited Cabinet sources as confirming that the priority for Covid certificate use will be for larger events in venues including theatres, sports arenas and music venues.

Such certification would require people to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative Covid test or the presence of antibodies from being infected by the virus before.

A Whitehall source was reported as saying that the team carrying out the review decided to narrow the focus for the certificates on “higher-risk settings that are not open and big events” instead of smaller settings.

However, it has not ruled out allowing pub and restaurant owners to decide on their own terms of entry. It is also considering that the passports be used in smaller settings if coronavirus infections start to surge in the autumn in order to allow businesses to remain open.

It comes after Mr Gove and deputy chief medical officer for England, Jonathan Van-Tam, recently made a visit to Israel to study the green pass system there.

In order to obtain a green pass, a person must have received both doses of a Covid vaccine or have recovered from infection. It can then be used to access many places, including gyms, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, sporting venues, hotels and cultural events.

In the UK, the government has confirmed that an NHS app will be used as a Covid passport to enable Britons to travel abroad when international holidays are allowed again.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday that the app will allow Britons to demonstrate if they have had a Covid jab or tested negative for the virus before overseas travel.

But the idea that such documentation may be used domestically has sparked backlash, with over 70 MPs branding them “divisive and discriminatory” earlier this month.

In a statement against the policy, which was also backed by migrant rights and privacy groups, the MPs said that if Covid certification became a requirement for “participating in your own community”, it would be “an authoritarian step too far”.

Officials conducting the inquiry into the use of Covid certificates have taken evidence on the potential legal risks of such a system, including whether it may violate the European convention on human rights and how it may impact employment rights.

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