First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed today that despite the legal requirement for vaccine passports being put in place from Friday at 5am for late-night venues, that there would be a grace period until the 18th October to allow businesses to assess and adapt their operations to become compliant with the scheme before being faced with enforcement action.
Said Nicola Sturgeon, “This pragmatic compromise demonstrates that we are listening to businesses and we are determined to work with them.”
The First Minister also stated that she has not ruled out a negative test as being part of being Covid certification scheme – however, the main reason for bringing in the certification was to drive vaccination levels up.
She said the scheme was “ready” and the full details of the scheme will be published later today.
However Conservative Leader Douglas Ross did not agree saying it was a “botched scheme”. He said, “It will be legally enforced but won’t be enforced.” Saying that they calling for a vote tomorrow asking for it to be halted.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson commented, “Today’s news that the Scottish Government will delay enforcement is welcome. Acknowledging the concerns of business, raised by UKHospitality Scotland and others, gives late-night businesses time to test and adapt their processes.
“However, the reality is that the Scottish Government is not ready to introduce this scheme. With no published regulations or guidance, businesses are working in the dark with little chance of being ready for Friday. Similarly, there has been no public campaign to advise people on what they need to do, with the app for downloading certification only available from this Thursday.
“The delay in enforcement doesn’t remove the difficulties that many businesses will face later when staffing shortages will remain. Many businesses are already planning to remove themselves from scope. For example, pubs planning to close function rooms at midnight to avoid the need to check passports. This reduces their ability to trade at full capacity now when they need to generate maximum revenue and undermines financial prospects as we head closer to Christmas.
“With covid cases falling rapidly, and the First Minister acknowledging that businesses are already playing their part in keeping customers and workers safe the question remains why the Scottish Government believes covid passports are necessary.”
The First Minister also revealed that the Scottish Government has allocated £25m to help small and medium-sized businesses improve ventilation and make the necessary adjustments to their businesses. She highlighted hospitality and leisure businesses saying, “More details of the eligibility criteria will be revealed over the next few weeks to help make them make indoor settings safer.”
Said Thomson, “Hospitality businesses continue to work hard and invest in safe venues for customers and staff. This funding for improved ventilation is welcome and UKHospitality looks forward to learning more about it.”