A poll by the Scottish Hospitality Group – which represents some of Scotland’s most professional operators – revealed that some venues saw a 40% decrease in customers while in some cases the decline was as high as 50%.
Spokesman Stephen Montgomery called it a “weekend of unmitigated disaster” and issued a fresh call for the scheme to be scrapped.
SHG found that over the scheme’s first weekend, with its members alones, there were over 550 incidences where venue staff had to reject entry due to the customer having no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.
They also found a concerning number of reports of abuse of hospitality staff over rejections and queues at venues combined with continuing problems with the vaccine passports app and its update.
Some venues also reported that a number of staff had struggled with the stress of a “charged atmosphere” and have had to go home early from their shifts.
The information that the SHG gathered also highlighted the fact that the younger customers who did decide to go to a club knew about the requirement for a Vaccine Passport, but over 25’s were not as aware, within some venues, more than a third had not downloaded their passports.
Stephen Montgomery, comments, “The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster – and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish Government.”
“The Scottish Hospitality Group has been warning the Government for weeks that their vaccine passports scheme is not ready – but the Government’s attitude has been to tell us to ‘get on with it’ whilst offering no safety net of support for businesses or our hard working staff.
“The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.
“We are clearly seeing venues being forced to close at midnight to take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare.
“How can we rebuild customer confidence when we are the ones being faced with the customer anger and confusion , whilst being made to enforce this policy in law, which has been made simply to increase vaccination levels in the younger demographic?”.
“The reality is that it’s not vaccine passports that will end this health crisis. Government themselves have acknowledged that the solution is an acceleration of booster vaccinations. The Scottish hospitality industry as a whole, has paid enough for Government failures in this pandemic, and it’s time the Scottish Government scrapped this scheme altogether.”