Covid: Nightclub staff make last ditch appeal to halt any vaccine passport plans

Credit: PA

First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to make an announcement on whether or not vaccine passports will be introduced for access to nightclubs and large events in Wales.

Welsh Government ministers met on Thursday to carry out their legally-required review of the current Covid restrictions.

It is expected, but not yet confirmed, that Wales will remain at Alert Level Zero restrictions.

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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But another key issue will be whether or not to introduce vaccine passports - a certificate or other way of proving that you've had two vaccinations or have recovered from Covid - in certain settings, namely nightclubs and large events like concerts.

The body representing the night time industry is urging First Minister Mark Drakeford not to introduce a scheme.

The Welsh Commission of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) made a last-ditch plea to the First Minister to abandon any plans to introduce vaccine passports.

The Welsh Government says it is aiming to make clubs and events safer with the passes. Credit: PA Images

In an open letter, the trade body warned that the measures would have a catastrophic impact on a sector "still reeling" from the impact of the pandemic and that measures would be "immensely difficult to implement", have a "detrimental impact on trade" and would result in "some of the hardest-hit Welsh businesses losing out to those in England".

It says: "We are deeply concerned by the prospect of these measures, and the unique impact they will have on our sector – a sector which has seen the most prolonged closures throughout the pandemic, suffered some of the most job losses, and is still reeling from this impact."

Vaccine passports are currently being discussed in Wales. Credit: PA

NTIA said 80% of its members throughout the UK stated they were against the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports.

It added: "There are high rates of vaccine hesitancy among the 18-30 age group – a key demographic, and a fear that this would force young people to gather in unregulated events, which would be much less Covid safe and potentially lead to anti-social behaviour.

"Welsh nightlife businesses are already suffering from serious staff shortages, most notably in the security and supply chains. Operators are considerably anxious that any mandatory vaccine certification will push workers away from businesses rather than be coerced into taking vaccinations."

Vaccine passports has been given the go-ahead in Scotland, whereas the UK government U-turned on plans to introduce them after a backlash from MPs.