Restaurants, pubs reassured by government dropping Covid passport plans in April and May

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The use of ‘Covid passports’ won’t be required for restaurants and pubs this and next month, a minister has confirmed.

The UK is studying whether to introduce electronic certificates to show whether people have been vaccinated, already contracted or tested negative for COVID-19.

READ: Hospitality, leisure stocks on the rise after Boris Johnson confirms April 12 reopening in line with roadmap

These will be trialled at sporting events and other large-scale locations but will not be rolled out until well after hospitality venues will resume indoor services in mid-May.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC it would be “remiss and irresponsible” not to consider this option.

However, an official government review has been considering the use of the certificate to ditch social distancing in hospitality venues, with single businesses deciding whether to adopt these measures or not.

Under this plan, customers would scan the NHS app on their smartphone at the door and be allowed entry only if they have tested negative, received the jab or have contracted the virus in the previous six months, The Times reported.

“The introduction of ‘vaccine passports’ or ‘covid certificates’ would cause our industry numerous practical issues, however we are keen to get our businesses back trading at, or as close to, pre-pandemic levels as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB) told Proactive.

“As there are currently no Government instructions to implement these measures guests will not need proof of vaccination before entering one of our businesses, but if the guidance were to change we would adapt our measures accordingly.”  

Trade body UKHospitality said it was reassured by the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday confirming reopenings will go ahead following the original roadmap.

“This [vaccine certification] would have been very difficult to implement and placed a huge amount of additional stress on an industry that has suffered enough,” chief executive Kate Nicholls said in a release.

“Such a scheme would have hindered the ability of thousands of hospitality businesses to return to sustainable levels of trade, to recover and to be viable, and we urge the government to avoid this at every stage, and at all costs.”

Last week, JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) said vaccine passports would be the “last straw” for certain pubs struggling due to the pandemic.

“All in all, there is no justification for a passport system,” the publican’s chairman Tim Martin wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“It would inevitably put pub staff in the frontline of a bitter civil liberties war, with some customers unwilling, or unable for medical reasons, to be vaccinated.”

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