Scottish businesses slam Nicola Sturgeon ahead of Covid vaccine passport ...

Scottish businesses slam Nicola Sturgeon ahead of Covid vaccine passport ...
Scottish businesses slam Nicola Sturgeon ahead of Covid vaccine passport ...

Nicola Sturgeon is set to expand controversial Covid vaccine passports in Scotland to pubs, cinemas and theatres.

The First Minister is expected to extend the Covid ID cards scheme which currently covers nightclubs and large venues to a host of other hospitality businesses at a briefing to Holyrood at 2pm.

Any changes to current Covid restrictions in Scotland are said to come into force from December 8 onwards. 

Ms Sturgeon suggested last week that the scheme could be expanded, warning: 'All of our decisions are, and must be motivated by a desire to keep people safe, but also to get through what will be a challenging winter, without having to reintroduce any restrictions on trade'.

However, business leaders are urging the First Minister to 'seriously consider the economic damage' further restrictions could have on hospitality venues, warning the measure will create a 'Christmas nightmare'.  

Plans to extend the passport scheme in Scotland have also been criticised by opposition MPs who claim the measure would heap further pressure on businesses decimated during the pandemic.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross called the scheme 'absolutely wrong' and insisted that the Government's own 70-page evidence paper on the application of passports demonstrated that there is 'no evidence to suggest vaccine passports do anything to stop the spread of Covid-19'.   

Scotland has recorded 2,677 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours but no new deaths, according to the latest data.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minster's Questions in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minster's Questions in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

The First Minister is expected to announce an extension of controversial Covid vaccine passports which currently cover nightclubs and large venues to pubs, cinemas and theatres at a briefing at 2pm today

The First Minister is expected to announce an extension of controversial Covid vaccine passports which currently cover nightclubs and large venues to pubs, cinemas and theatres at a briefing at 2pm today

So where else in the UK is making Covid passports compulsory? 

WALES

MPs in Wales have voted to extend controversial Covid passports to cinemas, theatres and concert halls. 

From November 15, entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls has been regulated by the scheme after members of the Welsh Parliament dramatically approved the extension to mixed reaction. 

People were previously required to show they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus to enter nightclubs and similar venues since last month. 

The new law brought by the Labour government passed with 39 Members of the Senedd voting for and 15 against, with the Welsh Conservatives and Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds opposed.  

Officials insisted that the Covid passport was popular, with Health Minister Eluned Morgan saying the extension was designed to keep cinemas and theatres open over the winter months. 

NORTHERN IRELAND 

Covid vaccine passports will be compulsory in Northern Ireland next month after Stormont ministers backed the measure.  

People in the UK province will have to provide a passport or proof of a negative Covid test result to access hospitality venues including nightclubs, pubs or restaurants from December 13. 

Speaking after the snap vote, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann said he was trying to avoid the need for restrictions this winter, including a full lockdown, and insisted ministers 'have to act'.

'Our Covid numbers are too high and we need to forcibly push them down,' he told reporters. 'Our health and social care system is under severe stress.' 

ENGLAND

Westminster ministers have so far refrained from introducing compulsory Covid passports amid privacy and civil liberty concerns.

The Government dramatically ditched plans to adopt certification rules for nightclubs and other major venues following a huge Tory outcry.

But Downing Street confirmed venues will be told to implement the measure if the NHS comes under 'unsustainable pressure' this autumn or winter.     

Plan B - which ministers hope will be enough to stop the country from succumbing to another full-blown lockdown - also includes re-enforcing face masks indoors and work from home guidance.

Proposals published by the Department of Health have now revealed more details of the passport scheme, and warn it could be implemented 'at short notice in response to concerning data'. 

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In Wales, Covid passes have been required for entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls since November 13 after MPs voted to extend the measures. And in Northern Ireland from next month, vaccine passports will be compulsory to enter nightclubs, pubs and restaurants.  

Though the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has so far refrained from introducing Covid passports in England, Downing Street has warned that the measure could be imposed in the event of a winter crisis.

The Scottish Government's evidence paper states that extending the passport scheme to new settings could have a major impact on revenue and footfall for those businesses that could be added to the scheme.

'Options that include proof of negative Covid test results (e.g. lateral flow tests) would offset economic harm to a degree because it would increase the number of potential customers able to access the venues (given that not all people eligible to have double vaccination have done so, for a variety of reasons),' it says.

'This would apply to business affected by potential expansion of the scheme, and those that already fall within existing requirements.'

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