Scotland’s Covid-19 vaccine passport scheme, which aims to control the number of people attending events at different venues and non-essential domestic and international travel, has been labelled an “unmitigated disaster.”
According to the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), Scotland’s covid passport scheme was more of a hindrance than a help. SHG represents Scotland’s night-time venues and is made up of many restaurants and bars such as Buzzworks Holdings, the DRG Group, Manorview Group, Montpeliers and Signature Pubs.
The Scottish vaccine passport scheme has been legally enforceable since October 18th and has, in turn, crippled football, the shopping industry, during a time when businesses were already struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some venues reported a drop in footfall of up to 40 percent.
The Scottish trade body said that enforcing the scheme in venues in the country has resulted in an alarming number of reports of hospitality staff abuse over rejections and queues at venues. There are also reports of ongoing issues with the covid vaccine passport app and its update.
The scheme applies to late-night premises with music, alcohol and dancing between midnight and 5 am.
On Monday, October 25th, SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said that the first weekend of the vaccine passport scheme “has been one of unmitigated disaster” because the Scottish government didn’t listen to feedback from the trade body. The SHG has previously criticised the government’s decision to implement the disruptive and discriminative scheme.
Technically, the scheme was implemented on October 1st, but it also came with a 17-day grace period to allow for venues to prepare for the measures.
Over the weekend, SHG members reported over 550 instances where venues staff had to refuse entry to customers because they did not have a vaccine passport, they presented an ineligible vaccine passport or they presented a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.
The SHG has been warning the Scottish government for weeks that the scheme was not ready and offered “no safety net of support” for businesses or their staff.
Montgomery added that some venues were closing at midnight to “take themselves out of scope of the regulation” and due to issues about recruitment and worries about staff welfare.
The SHG spokesman concluded that the Scottish government should scrap the passport scheme as soon as possible.
However, despite receiving feedback from the trade body, the Scottish government has defended the vaccine passport scheme as a “proportionate way of encouraging people to get vaccinated.” The measure would also allegedly help ensure that large events and night-time venues can keep operating during what experts say could potentially be a “very difficult winter.”
Under the covid passport scheme, citizens over the age of 18 must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated before they are permitted to enter certain venues such as nightclubs, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with over 4,000 attendees and any event with more than `10,000 attendees.
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