Vaccine passports could be ‘extended’ beyond nightclubs in new plan

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Vaccine passports could be ‘further extended’ to city centre pubs, sports, and other major indoor venues.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden raised speculation about the future of passports as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil the full scheme next week.

The Minister said people will be made to prove they have had both coronavirus jabs to enter a club by the end of the month, reports the Mirror.

He said the government will “continue to engage” with “other sporting and cultural venues” as Premier League matches and the Royal Albert Hall are already due to take part.

Mr Dowden then said the scheme could be “further extended” if cases surge.

He told Sky News: “And if there’s a need to further extend that certification according to the public health need we will look at doing so.

“But we’re always reluctant to impose further burdens on businesses unless we absolutely have to.”

Ministers are expected to spell out the details of passports next week as part of a ’toolbox’ of contingency plans to avoid a winter lockdown.

While Mr Dowden did not specify and was not asked about pubs, there have been questions about whether some could be included.

The government’s vaccine passport studies have focused on nightclubs and large, ticketed events rather than everyday venues.

However, in July Boris Johnson failed to rule out vaccine passports for pubs, saying only he did not “want” them to happen.

While the idea of including all pubs appears highly unlikely, it’s understood ministers have looked at how they can draw the line between full-blown nightclubs and some busy city centre pubs and bars.

These venues sometimes open to the small hours and become packed with people on dance floors.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed “essential services” will not force anyone to show they have been double-jabbed.

Although suggestions are this will be for places that have remained open during the lockdowns.

It is not yet known if MPs will get to vote on any plans, with Mr Zahawi promising only “parliamentary scrutiny”.

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Mr Dowden told Sky today: “We want as few restrictions for as short a period as possible, but if we need them to protect public health we will.

“That’s why we’ve said in relation to very high risk venues, a nightclub for example, lots of people mingling close to each other, poor ventilation.

“We will be looking at bringing in certification for nightclubs towards the end of the month, we continue to engage with other sporting and cultural venues.

“So for example, most Premier League matches you go to will have some kind of certification already. I’ve been at the Royal Albert Hall recently, they’ve got certification.

“And if there’s a need to further extend that certification according to the public health need we will look at doing so.

“But we’re always reluctant to impose further burdens on businesses unless we absolutely have to.”

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