Trade welcomes no extension to vaccine passport scheme

covid-passport

The Scottish vaccine passport scheme will not be extended, at least for the time being,  the First Minister revealed yesterday. The news came after weeks of lobbying by all Scotland’s trade bodies..

In further good news, the First Minister also said that venues such as night clubs and late-night venues, who currently require a vaccine passport, from December 6th, can ask customers to show a negative lateral flow test instead. Although the NTIA is still campaigning to have the need for Vaccine passports in late night venues to be removed completely.

After the announcement Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said, “The announcement  is very welcome news and gives the trade some stability coming into the Christmas period and allows customers to come out and enjoy themselves. It is a sensible decision based on the evidence

“We have said all along that working in partnership with us makes for a better result.

“I would like to thank the First Minister, Ivan McKee, Jason Leitch, and officials, for listening to our issues and for meeting us. We now look forward to working with them to further iron out the issues that the current vaccination scheme still has.”

The Night Time Industries Association Scotland’s said, “Whilst NTIA Scotland remain opposed to the continued application of vaccine passports in late night settings, we are encouraged by Scottish Government’s decision today that the scheme will not be rolled out further at this time. This is a sensible and pragmatic decision which takes into account the extraordinary harm businesses have suffered as a result of restrictions over the last 2 years, the lack of evidence that this scheme has any meaningful impact on vaccine uptake, concerns around human rights, and also recognises that the current trajectory of infections and hospitalisations is falling.

“Vaccine passports have however been devastating to businesses already affected, with turnover down around 40%, so we now call on Scottish Government to urgently review whether continued application of the scheme is either necessary or proportionate and provide urgent financial grant support to those businesses that remain in scope of the scheme.

“It is a positive step in the right direction that Lateral Flow Tests will now be included as an alternative to double vaccination, which will safeguard late night venues in particular, and is something the trade body has advocated for from the inception of this scheme.

“This brings Scotland in line with other European nations, and partially alleviates at least some of the equalities and social exclusion harms that were previously the case. However, the experience in Wales indicates that affected businesses, even with LFT inclusion, have still suffered a 26% decrease in trade.

Our sector are working positively and constructively with government to increase public awareness and maximise Covid safety during the vital Christmas trading season.”

Marc Crothall, CEO Scottish Tourism Alliance said, “The Scottish Tourism Alliance welcomes the First Minister’s announcement that vaccine passports will not be extended to the hospitality sector and that alternative measures can be used within businesses already implementing the scheme.

“Our organisation has, since the outbreak of the pandemic, been in full support of evidence-based measures to balance the protection of public health and the economy, the proposal to extend vaccine certification to hospitality was in our view harmful to the sector, the wider tourism economy across all areas of Scotland and would have effectively stalled what is already a long and challenging road to recovery for one of the worst hit industries.

“The next few weeks are crucially important to the sector in terms of recouping lost earnings as a result of the introduction of previous restrictions; I am sure that many businesses will feel a sense of overwhelming relief that they will be able to trade as planned.

“The STA and other trade bodies and business groups had been consulted in the proposals to extend the vaccination certification scheme and I am delighted that the collective views and evidence we have presented have been given the thorough and due consideration we expected.

“The feeling of optimism across our tourism and hospitality sectors was significantly eroded following the First Minister’s announcement last week with businesses looking towards weeks and months of immense challenge and uncertainty.

“We can now hopefully look forward to a thriving season ahead, one which is pivotal to our economic recovery and I know that all businesses within our sector will be doing their utmost to ensure public safety and limit the spread of the virus to ensure a safe and buoyant festive period.

“The STA will encourage our members and the wider industry to promote testing to their customers in a supportive, positive manner and we look forward to our continued conversations with both governments as we navigate the road ahead back to recovery.”

The Night Time Industries Association Scotland’s said, “Whilst NTIA Scotland remain opposed to the continued application of vaccine passports in late night settings, we are encouraged by Scottish Government’s decision today that the scheme will not be rolled out further at this time. This is a sensible and pragmatic decision which takes into account the extraordinary harm businesses have suffered as a result of restrictions over the last 2 years, the lack of evidence that this scheme has any meaningful impact on vaccine uptake, concerns around human rights, and also recognises that the current trajectory of infections and hospitalisations is falling.

Vaccine passports have however been devastating to businesses already affected, with turnover down around 40%, so we now call on Scottish Government to urgently review whether continued application of the scheme is either necessary or proportionate and provide urgent financial grant support to those businesses that remain in scope of the scheme.

It is a positive step in the right direction that Lateral Flow Tests will now be included as an alternative to double vaccination, which will safeguard late night venues in particular, and is something the trade body has advocated for from the inception of this scheme.

This brings Scotland in line with other European nations, and partially alleviates at least some of the equalities and social exclusion harms that were previously the case. However the experience in Wales indicates that affected businesses, even with LFT inclusion, have still suffered a 26% decrease in trade.

Our sector are working positively and constructively with government to increase public awareness and maximise Covid safety during the vital Christmas trading season.”

Share:

Category: Coronavirus, News
Tags: , , , ,
Menu