Joseph Okpako/WireImage – Liam Gallagher performs at Reading Festival 2021. Aug. 29, 2021.
Promoter Festival Republic has asked visitors for proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test upon entry, even though it wasn’t yet a legal requirement.
Following criticism from various sides, and given the country’s high vaccination rate, the UK government decided not to implement a vaccine passport requirement for visitors of clubs and events.
The country’s health secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC on Sunday morning, Sept. 12: “I think most people, instinctively, don’t like the idea. I’ve never liked to idea of saying to people, ‘you must show your papers to do what is just an everyday activity.
“We’ve looked at it properly, and whilst we should keep in in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say, that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
He said the high vaccination rate in England was the main reason for this new policy. He didn’t mention the mass protests in London, but also in other countries like France, where vaccine passports have been implemented, as having anything to do with the new considerations.
Javid was backtracking on statements made by various members of government, including prime minister Boris Johnson, confirming on several different occasions that the vaccine passports were coming for nightclubs and large events.
Toby Melville-WPA Pool/Getty Images – Britain’s health secretary Sajid Javid.
During a news conference with prime minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street, Sept. 7, 2021.
According to the BBC, the decision makers at No 10 Downing Street “stressed the plan – which had been set to be introduced at the end of this month – would be kept ‘in reserve’ should it be needed over autumn or winter.”
It’s unclear which plan exactly is being kept “in reserve”: the BBC reports, “under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof – whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test.” Johnson said, when talking about the COVID pass in July, that “proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient,” and that “we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.”
For the time being, events will be allowed to take place with no restrictions. The news come as a huge relief to nightclubs, who are already operating on tight margins. Larger events, have been implementing asking guests for some form of Covid certification despite not being legally required to.
As industry body LIVE points out, “the live music industry is running its own campaigns encouraging fans to take a test before and after attendance at events, even if they have been double vaccinated. We would encourage other sectors that bring people together, such as pubs, restaurants, sports events and other nightlife settings, to do likewise.”
Scotland, part of the UK, is still going ahead with its plans to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and large events. No such plans have yet been announced for Northern Ireland.
In mainland Europe, France has already implemented them. Some form of green pass is being developed or already in place in several other European countries.
Martin Pope/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images – Protesters at the medical freedom march against vaccine passports, mandated vaccines for care workers and vaccines for children, in London, England, Aug. 8.
England’s health minister didn’t mention them as having anything to do with the government backtracking on its plans for vaccine passports.
The UK’s Night Times Industries Association (NTIA), one of the most vocal bodies when speaking out against the proposed vaccine passport policy for clubs, had previously stated, “Feedback from businesses within the late night sector suggested that if Covid Passports were mandated, businesses would see a drop of over a third of trade overnight in these settings, and the staffing issues would intensify with many suggesting they would leave the sector if they were forced to be vaccinated to work within the sector.”
Following this lates announcement, NTIA CEO Michael Kill commented: “Following an intense political and public campaign by the NTIA, its members and wider industry supporters, we welcome the comments from the Health Secretary regarding the government’s decision to scrap the planned mandate of Covid Passports from the end of September.”
“We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.”
“Our focus now is to ensure that the Chancellor’s October budget allows us the financial space to rebuild and for the industry to maintain its exemplary record in support of the Public Health strategy keeping our staff and our customers safe.”
Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd commented: “The double vaccine certification program proposed by the government contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination. Music Venue Trust has been describing those problems to ministers and departments for the last two months, and we therefore welcome the decision to not move forward with this policy.
“It is important to reiterate that grassroots music venues want the tools to be able to create safe events. They are experts in risk mitigation, and there is ample evidence that working alongside the live community a great deal has already been achieved to reopen every venue safely.
“Our issue with double vaccination certification as a sole requirement of entry was that it was highly unlikely to achieve improved safety above and beyond those measures already in place and highly likely to create a two tier night time economy which divided venues and customers. We await formal confirmation from the government of the scrapping of these problematic passports.
“Meanwhile we continue to encourage everyone in the live music community to please take a test before attending an event, a personal approach to risk mitigation that is highly effective and makes a real difference to the safety of gigs.”