'It wasn't a workable solution' - Government scrap vaccine passports
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Government plans to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and large venues in England have been scrapped, following an announcement from health secretary Sajid Javid.
The sharp U-turn came on Sunday, just 14 days before the scheme was set to be introduced.
The decision has been well-received by the Night Time Industries Association and Music Venue Trust, who were concerned that the scheme could cripple the industry.
Andre Smith, 32, owns Cans ‘n’ Cocktails on Norwich's Prince of Wales Road. He has previously spoken against the proposals, and now says it wasn’t a workable solution from the start.
“I predicted it in the first place. It was too close to the deadline for anything to come out. It’s the right decision for people as well as the industry. People shouldn’t need to be forced into something to enjoy clubs. The whole thing seemed a bit like blackmail to me.”
For Mr Smith, it wasn’t just nightclubs that would have been impacted by the scheme.
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“You have to think about all the ancillary businesses around the night time economy. If the scheme had been introduced, it would have had a knock-on effect on takeaways, taxis and retailers, as well as the venues themselves."
Other venues in Norwich have already made the decision to require visitors to show proof they have been vaccinated.
Phil Cutter, landlord of The Murderers pub, has been enforcing a ‘no jab, no entry’ rule since they reopened in July. He has previously said, "All it takes is one person to come in with some semblance of the virus to pass it on. We need to get everybody in the same boat and make it a blanket rule."
The Waterfront and LCR venues have also maintained a strict policy on entry, requiring all visitors to show either proof of full vaccination, natural immunity or a negative lateral flow test.
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Mr Smith is confident that nightclubs can continue to operate safely without a vaccine passport scheme:
"We just need to carry on doing what we are doing. QR codes at entrances, hand sanitising, increased cleaning. And people can of course wear face masks when inside a venue."