Covid passes to be introduced in Wales from October

  • Watch ITV Cymru Wales' video report by Adrian Masters

People in Wales will have to show a Covid-19 pass to confirm their vaccine status, or a negative test, to enter nightclubs and attend events from next month.

The Welsh Government said it was introducing the measure to help reduce the spread of coronavirus - as rates reach "very high levels" in the country.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has previously said that it was something the government was seriously considering for large events, but added there were "lots of practical and ethical issues to think about".

Over-18s will need to show proof of their vaccination status or a negative result to attend large events Credit: PA

He confirmed that despite the new regulations, Wales will remain at Alert Level Zero for at least the next three weeks, when the government will review the situation again.

Alert Level Zero: The Covid rules explained in Wales

Meeting indoors

From 6am on 7 August, will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events.

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What businesses can reopen?

Any businesses currently still closed will be able to re-open. This includes nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

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What about self-isolating?

From midnight on 7 August, adults who are fully vaccinated and children and young people under the age of 18, will no longer need to isolate if they are identified as close conatcts of someone who has coronavirus.

This was announced by the First Minister last week.

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Social distancing

It's not yet clear whether or not the 'two-metre rule' under which businesses are obliged by law to ensure social distancing in the workplace will be dropped.

Welsh Government sources say that it is one of the final details being discussed.

In its announcement, the government says premises and workplaces will have "more flexibility" about which "reasonable measures they take" to minimise the risk of the virus.

"These should be tailored to their risk assessment and their specific circumstances".

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The announcement comes after it was decided that specific vaccine passports would not be a requirement in England, but the measures will be introduced in Scotland, also from October.

Any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance will require someone to show a vaccine passport

Where and when will Covid passports be required?

The requirement to show an NHS COVID Pass will come into force from 11 October.

It will mean all over-18s will need to have a pass to enter:

  • Nightclubs

  • Indoor, non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions

  • Outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people

  • Any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance

  • How do I get a Covid passport?

People who are fully vaccinated in Wales can already download the NHS COVID Pass to securely show and share their vaccine status.

It also allows people to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

Awareness and enforcement of other key Covid protection measures, including face coverings in indoor public places and on public transport, will be increased, Mr Drakeford said.

Mark Drakeford said the government hopes the introduction of passports will help keep venues open Credit: PA

Speaking ahead of Friday's press conference, the first minister said cases have risen to "very high levels over the summer" as more people have been gathering and meeting.

“The last thing we want is further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again. That’s why we must take small but meaningful action now to control the spread of the virus and reduce the need for tougher measures later.”

It comes as the body representing the night time industry urged Mr Drakeford not to introduce such a scheme.

There will be five new initiatives in place going into the autumn, including starting the booster campaign, offering vaccines to 12 to 15-year-olds and introducing the NHS Covid Pass, the FM announced.

Discussing the decision to bring in Covid passes in nightclubs, Mark Drakeford said that it was down to the nature of the venues and the fact that they aren't ventilated.

He said: "People go to nightclubs to get close to other people".

The introduction of the passes is "one further measure to keeping people safe and increases the chance of keeping nightclubs open during the autumn and winter months", Mr Drakeford added.

He also made it clear in the press conference that Covid passes are not the same as vaccine passports.

He said: "It's clearly not a vaccine passport - you can get a Covid pass without being vaccinated".

He mentioned that the decision does avoid the "difficult ethical issues" about people who cannot be vaccinated as you can get a Covid pass through the testing regime.

He said that "neither vaccination nor a pass is a magic bullet" but being vaccinated provides "significant advantages for yourself and others."

  • What do people think about the announcement?

Nick Newman, a nightclub owner from Cardiff said that he 'questions' the decision made by the Welsh Government.

"Nightclubs are bearing the brunt of some questionable decision making on the part of Welsh Government.", he said.

"They're the hardest hit sector and have been for the last 18 months. This seems to have come out of nowhere and to be honest, I'm questioning what is behind it."

Speaking with ITV Cymru Wales' Political Editor, Adrian Masters after the press conference, Nick wasn't very happy with the response to his question.

He said: "I just felt it was lacking. The First Minister likes to refer to the science, and he specifically mentioned air exchange, well nightclubs are renowned for having very, very effective air exchange systems. So I don't really understand him going down that route."

Nick Newman, nightclub owner

Others were more optimistic about the announcement. Enjoying a night out in Cardiff, one said she was "happy" to show a pass as she was already "double jabbed."

Another thought it was important for people to understand that if they decided not to get vaccinated that they "might not get in to certain places, they might not get in to bars or clubs."

"I think this is something that they need to know", she added.

Jodie Beck, Policy and Campaigns Officer at the human rights organisation, Liberty, welcomed the government's decision not to implement vaccine passports but had some concerns about the new Covid passes.

“While we welcome the decision of the Welsh Government to not exclude those who have not received the vaccine from attending large events, the introduction of a vaccine pass in Wales still sets a dangerous precedent", she said.

“Vaccine passports under any name mean more coercion and division, and risk creating a two-tier society where people who are already marginalised will see their rights and autonomy most affected"

 A spokesperson from 'The Night Time Industries Association Wales' said: "We are disappointed that the Welsh Government has felt it must mandate Covid passports at this stage, albeit a more liberal implementation with the inclusion of testing.

"We still feel that these measures will have a negative impact on businesses, and will create considerable market distortion. Over the coming weeks we will have the opportunity to discuss the details further and assess the challenges for our sector."