Covid passes: What do people in Wales really think about the Welsh Government scheme?

NHS Covid passes were first introduced for nightclubs and some large scale events in Wales back in October.

The scheme has since been extended to include cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

The extension was one of a number of measures strengthened by the Welsh Government in response to a high level of the virus across the country.

The introduction of Covid passes has been controversial with opponents claiming that they amount to “vaccination passports” and infringe people’s civil liberties. 

But Welsh ministers insist that they are not vaccine passports - because they also allow people who can’t be vaccinated to prove that they’ve had a negative lateral flow test. 

Covid passes have divided opinions in the Senedd, but what do the public think about them?

Interesting to see if public follow

Dr Simon Williams of Swansea University has expressed his interest in public support for the implementation of passes.

A number of people in support as a public safety measure

With many having already had to gain a pass in order to attend an event, there is a level of support for the scheme.

Sheila Porter said: “The rule is in the interests of public health. If people want to attend it's hardly onerous, show a covid pass on your phone to prove your vaccination status or do a LFT.

For some, the passes are no different to other forms of identification.

Margot Pugh said: “Fed up with all this now - people have ID cards for their jobs, I know I did, and no one complains.

"Ask people to do something to help others and you get all this 'it’s an infringement of your civil rights'. Stop thinking about number one and perhaps everything can return to the norm."

Opposition in principle and practice

However, there is a significant number of voices opposing the passes, including an independent cinema in Swansea, which has vowed not to implement them.

For Leigh Priest, the cinema's move is a welcome one: “At last, there's a voice of reason in all of this illogical madness, well done to her. Hopefully, she'll give others the courage to follow.”

Others in opposition are less worried about the principle, and more about how they work in practice.

Gareth Rees said: “Mark Drakeford is worried about Covid rates yet 74,000 people are going to be at the rugby today? Covid passes are required but those don’t stop transmission. Masks won’t be required either because it is technically an outdoor event.”

'They don’t work'

Beyond supporting or opposing them in principle, there are also concerns they are impractical or do not work.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats continue to oppose the passes. This week, their leader Jane Dodds put it to the first minister suggesting that they do not work. 

Support for hospitality and entertainment

Regardless of whether they support them, some people have stressed that the decision has not been fair on those in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, imploring people not to take their frustrations out on businesses and staff.

Fears they have a disproportionate impact 

Then, there are those who fear that the continuation of the passes will have a disproportionate impact on certain communities in Wales.