Anyone that’s even glanced at the news or social media over the past couple of days will have seen a glut of posts & articles about the plan to introduce a Vaccine Passport in the UK for anyone wanting to visit a nightclub or large gathering.
In a statement read from the country retreat where he is currently isolating, Prime Minister Boris Johnson briefed the nation on the intent to roll out the vaccine passport scheme that the country had previously been told would not be needed after ‘Freedom Day’. The move was criticised by venues, backbench Tories and opposition MPs.
His stance on vaccine passports is just another in a series of drastic u-turns that this government has made during this pandemic. The most recent being trying to circumvent Covid isolation rules after being pinged following contact with health secretary Sajid Javid. After a public outcry the PM decided it was better to “stick to the same rules” as thousands of others told to stay at home.
Who Can Get A Vaccine Passport
If you’re aged 18 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass 2 weeks after completing a full course of vaccination. Alternatively vaccine passports can be obtained by anyone with evidence of a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of entry to a venue. Finally, those with proof of natural immunity. Full details are available on the gov.uk website.
Why Are Nightclubs Being Targeted?
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said during the Downing Street press conference that clubs had the potential to cause “super spreading events”.
Mr Johnson eluded to not wanting to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere. We can assume he was referring to countries such as Holland who have made the move to close their nightlife.
Amsterdam recently reopened their nightclubs but have since had to backtrack on that decision following a sharp rise in cases. Dutchnews.nl reported that cafes and bars will have to shut after they saw the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands had soared sevenfold in a week.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a press conference that “without intervention, the speed at which coronavirus is spreading will increase“.
The summer festivals season in Holland is effectively cancelled, something we definitely don’t want to happen over here!
Could The Government Have Approached This Differently?
It seems the current UK Government are not too concerned with the welfare of the night time economy. The huge numbers attending the recent Freedom To Dance protests showed the countries frustrations over this subject. For over a year the industry was barely mentioned & many festivals have been cancelled this summer due to the governments refusal to offer any help to events unable to get insurance, putting the event promoters in grave danger of potentially going bankrupt should they get cancelled and have to refund tickets.
The notion of vaccination passports seems to be a very last minute one. Going back as far as 1st December 2020 a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said “There are no plans to introduce or require immunity passports to bar people from certain venues who haven’t been vaccinated“. The site politicshome.com have created a list of 11 times that vaccine passports have been ruled out.
Perhaps if Boris & his ministers had actually engaged with venue owners & festivals a staggered opening could have been worked out? Instead he hung everything on the ‘Freedom Day’ soundbite.
What Can We Do?
Regardless of vaccination passports or not, it’s clear we have to take responsibility for our own actions to ensure clubs & festivals aren’t blamed for being super spreader events.
Lateral flow tests take a minute to do & are available for free in the UK. Test yourself before attending an event, if you test positive please don’t risk being the person that turns the event into another statistic for the government to hold against the nightlife industry.
This simple attitude of social responsibility, if done properly, seems like a more sensible option than both the Track & Trace app & vaccine passport idea, and doesn’t violate any privacy laws or impact on anyone’s human rights.
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