Hundreds refused venue entry in Scotland's vaccine passport 'chaos'October 25, 2021
Scotland’s vaccine passport chaos: Pub and club bosses brand first weekend of Covid IDs an ‘unmitigated disaster’ with 550 revellers refused entry, staff abused and footfall down 40% forcing venues to close early
- Hospitality bosses said hundreds turned away because of the new passport rule
- It was also claimed pub and club staff faced abuse over rejections at their doors
- Industry called on Scottish Government to scrap scheme brought in this month
The first weekend of enforcement of Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme has been an ‘unmitigated disaster’, according to a hospitality sector body.
The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) said that staff have faced ‘intolerable levels of abuse’ and some venues saw a drop in footfall of up to 40 per cent.
It is calling on the Scottish Government to scrap the scheme, which has been legally enforceable since October 18.
Proof of full vaccination is required to enter nightclubs and large events as part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus and increase vaccine take-up.
Pub and nightclub bosses have slammed the Scottish Government over the requirement of Covid vaccine passports for entry to certain venues in Scotland, branding it a ‘disaster’
The measures technically came into effect from October 1, but an 18-day grace period was announced following backlash from affected industries and significant problems with the new app.
Plans to introduce vaccine passports for access to nightclubs in England were ditched by health secretary Sajid Javid in September.
SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: ‘The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish Government.
Pictured: SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery described the first weekend of Covid passports in Scotland as a ‘disaster’
‘The Scottish Hospitality Group has been warning the government for weeks that their vaccine passports scheme is not ready but the government’s attitude has been to tell us to “get on with it” whilst offering no safety net of support for businesses or our hard-working staff.
‘The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.’
The SHG comprises many restaurant and bar businesses, including the DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers and Manorview Group.
It said that over the weekend members reported more than 550 instances where venue staff had to refuse entry to a customer because they had no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.
There were also a ‘concerning number’ of reports of abuse of hospitality staff over rejections and queues at venues, and continuing problems were reported with the vaccine passport app and its update.
The vaccine certification scheme applies to late-night premises with music, alcohol and dancing between midnight and 5am.
Nightclub bosses said staff faced an unacceptable level of abuse over rejections at the door
Mr Montgomery said the SHG is seeing some venues closing at midnight to ‘take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare’.
He said: ‘The Scottish hospitality industry as a whole has paid enough for government failures in this pandemic, and it’s time the Scottish Government scrapped this scheme altogether.’
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ‘Covid-19 certification is a proportionate way of encouraging people to get vaccinated, and also of helping large events and night-time hospitality to keep operating during what will potentially be a very difficult winter.
‘This means many businesses will not have to close and can continue to trade whilst making necessary adjustments to ensure their premises are as safe as possible for staff and customers.
‘Officials continue to engage regularly with the sector to discuss implementation of the scheme.’
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