'It's a minefield' - Pubs' reaction to vaccine passport plan

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern, has teamed up with Age UK to put together care packag

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern. - Credit: Archant

Mid Norfolk pubs have balked at the idea of requiring pub-goers to provide a vaccine certificate as a condition of entry. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week the government was considering certificates for places like pubs, but acknowledged there were "ethical problems that need to be addressed".

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern in Dereham, said he did not think the so-called 'pub passports' were a good idea.

He said: "To be honest it’s a minefield. In theory yes it sounds like a simple idea for people to show some sort of passport but policing it would make an already difficult situation impossible.

"Then there's the issue of staffing and making it viable. Obviously we want everyone to be in a safe environment but it has to work for the business."

Mr Sandford added that because most of his pub's customers were under 50 and unlikely to be vaccinated soon, vaccine certificates would make their reopening less viable.

The Beeston Ploughshare has been awarded £25,000 from Power to Change. Photo : Steve Adams

The Beeston Ploughshare. - Credit: Steve Adams

Geoff Sorrell, from the Beeston Ploughshare, a community owned pub in mid-Norfolk, said he also thought the plan was unrealistic. 

Mr Sorrell said the Ploughshare was planning to reopen its outdoor areas from April 12, and indoors from May 17, with the same hygiene and social distancing measures they had last summer. 

He said: “All the precautions will be in place. It will be socially distanced with table service. We’re also erecting a marquee which will be sheltered but partly open. 

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“The idea of a passport is unrealistic. We’re not even required to test staff, but we are considering asking staff to volunteer for the lateral flow test. But even those tests aren’t conclusive.”

Sarah Godsoe, who runs Dereham's Cherry Tree pub with her sister, Morgana Hale, said she also thought the vaccine passport was unworkable. 

She said: "To expect staff to regulate it is impossible. I think it would cause possible conflict between staff and customers. And what about those who are ineligible for the jab due to pregnancy or certain allergies, for example?"

The landladies of a town centre pub have warned other owners to remain vigilant after thieves stole

Sarah Godsoe (right) and Morgana Hale, who run the Cherry Tree pub in Dereham. - Credit: Submitted

Miss Godsoe said she thought certificates would stop people from doing what they normally do. She added: "I believe it would cause mass social division and destroy any sense of community."


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