Sturgeon extends Vaccine Passport scheme to approx 75% of trade


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out the rules for the Covid Certification – Vaccine Passport – scheme today and revealed that all premises open between midnight and 5pm and selling alcohol, with live or recorded music for dancing and a designated dance floor, which is in use, are required to check customers have vaccine passports.

The rules will apply from 5am on 1st October and all premises meeting all the conditions will have to adhere to the requirement for Covid Passports.

The First Minister explained, “We are trying to avoid a situation where a pub, which operates in a similar way to a nightclub, is not subject to certification, as this may do damage to nightclubs which have to have certification.”

However, Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group said, “This is complete U-turn from the First Minister. She had promised the hospitality industry earlier this month that vaccine passports would not be rolled out to other areas of hospitality other than nightclubs, and she has extended the parameters to cover approx 75% of the Scottish trade.”

In the First Ministers statement to Parliament, she suggested that licensees use “a pragmatic and sensible approach” to the new rules. And suggested that customers out for a pub lunch would not have to provide certification, but if out at night they would.

Stephen Montgomery says, “This is a prime example of the Government not taking into account how hospitality venues operate. For example, at what point in the evening do we have to ask to see the certification? Do we ask everyone who is booking whether they are staying beyond midnight?

There is no question that the hospitality sector as a whole will do anything to help public health, however, this is fundamentally unethical, unworkable in the timescale, and the Scottish Government has got to come out and publicly tell the public that they (the Government) are telling us to discriminate against those that are not choosing to get a vaccine. They are asking us to turn away people who have not got a Covid Certification and that puts us in a precarious position when it comes to breaching human rights. There is serious potential for confrontation at the doors of venues and for door stewards…….if you can find a steward to employ. So there needs to be clarification on who is responsible and the financial impact of fines and penalties on the licenses of the operators.

He added, “Consulting with hospitality is not about consulting with 180 people on a call. We have had dialogue, but I would not call that consultation because anything we have put forward has not been listened to. For instance, we (SHG) proposed that premises that sold food were taken out, for example, hybrid venues,  and for the need for a designated booth for a DJ, the rules to apply to venues that didn’t have food on their operating plan and anywhere that was open after 2am. Instead, 75% of licensed trade businesses in Scotland will have to adhere, unless they change how they operate, which means further financial implications, without any support”

He concluded, “Business will be responsible for the labour cost and the cost of buying the hardware – and the trade is expected to fund this.

“We have not seen the impact assessment and by the time this is completed it will be too late for us to challenge it. I have asked Ivan McKee for that. We have asked them to produce the evidence that what they are introducing now will have a positive impact on health and not a negative impact on business. This is exactly the aims of the BRIA, which cannot, and should not be formed to wrap around the regulations.”

As well as nightclubs and pubs the rules also apply to live indoor events with more than 500 unseated, and outdoor events with 4,000, and any event with more than 10,000. Although larger events will only be required to spot check