Vaccine passports 'simply unworkable,' to some, key to 'open up sooner' to others

The Staff Canteen

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that guests might need a Covid-19 vaccine or a negative test to go to the pub as restrictions are eased in the summer. 

The government laid out its roadmap last month, with one of its aims being that all social distancing measures be dropped by June 21st. However, when it comes to what rules will be in place between May 17th and June 21st, and what might happen if the rollout of the vaccine is slowed, Whitehall has been more tight-lipped.

Such a policy is set to be implemented in Denmark, where hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen without restrictions from April 6th on the basis of the use of vaccine passports. 

Are health certificates / vaccine passports a good idea?

Answering questions by Conservative MP William Wragg before the Liaison Committee of senior MPs yesterday, the Prime Minister said: "I do think the basic concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us," calling it "the kind of thing that may be up to individual publicans, it may be up to the landlord." 

Today,  on a visit to a nursery in West London, Mr Johnson clarified that the measures would not be in place from April 12th, as all hospitality service would take place outside anyway.

He also said that such a policy would have to be considered once all adults have been offered a vaccine - casting doubt on the government's own deadline of operating with no restrictions as of June 21st. 

The Prime Minister said: "There are some people who for medical reasons can't get a vaccination, pregnant women can't get a vaccination at the moment, you've got to be careful about how you do this.

"You might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccination passport scheme even if you wanted such a thing in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine."

Another factor which could allow people to enter hospitality premises without restrictions, as well as vaccines and negative tests, he said, could be previous coronavirus infections, should health certificates be adopted.

"There are three basic components. There's the vaccine, there's your immunity you might have had after you've had Covid, and there's testing - they are three things that could work together."

However, he added: "No decisions have been taken at all."

After a year of lockdowns and restrictions, not everyone is against the idea of vaccine passports

Reacting to the Prime Minister's suggestion yesterday, UKHospitality chief Kate Nicholls said: "It's crucial that visiting the pub and other parts of hospitality should not be subject to mandatory vaccination certification."

She called the proposal "simply unworkable," and said that it would undoubtedly would "cause conflict between staff and customers and almost certainty result in breaches of equality rules." 

Among the general population, there is no consensus as to whether the suggestion would be a great idea or a terrible one, as fears of discrimination and poor implementation on the one hand are mitigated by restless Britons ready to return to public houses at whatever cost.

Our polling wasn't clear cut either, as respondents to our polls on Twitter and Instagram were almost equal on each side of the debate of whether the introduction of vaccine passports might be worthwhile if it meant that they could operate without restrictions.



This afternoon, the government is set to vote on extending emergency Covid regulations until September 25th, which could see the extension of restrictions past June 21st should efforts to contain the virus be delayed further.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th March 2021

Vaccine passports 'simply unworkable,' to some, key to 'open up sooner' to others