UK Scraps Covid Vaccine Passports For Music Venues

The UK government’s plans to introduce coronavirus vaccine passports in order to gain entry into music venues and nightclubs in England has been scrapped.

The UK government’s health secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC, “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead. We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”

The plan to have covid vaccine passports in order to gain entry to music venues and nightclubs was originally going to be introduced at the end of September 2021.

Earlier this month the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi defended the proposed scheme as the "best way" to keep the night industry open, adding that “we are absolutely on track to continue to make sure that we do”.

Under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof – whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test – in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, the health secretary said: “I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it.

“We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”

I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead. We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it. Sajid Javid

Mark Davyd, the CEO of Music Venue Trust, which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues throughout the UK, shared a statement on the government’s scrapping of the scheme:

“The double vaccine certification programme proposed by the government contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination. MVT has been describing those problems to Ministers and departments for the last two months. We therefore welcome the decision to not move forward with this policy.

“It is important to reiterate that grassroots music venues simply want the tools to be able to create safe events. These venues are run by experts with existing skills in risk mitigation. There is ample evidence that, working alongside the live music community, a great deal has already been achieved to meet our aim to reopen every venue safely.

“Our main issue with double vaccination certification as a sole requirement of entry was that it was highly unlikely to achieve improved safety above and beyond the measures already in place. At the same time, it was highly likely to create a two tier night time economy which divided venues and customers.

“We await formal confirmation from the government of the scrapping of these problematic passports. We strongly encourage the Scottish government to look again at its proposals to establish such a scheme, especially in the light of the problems different schemes for different countries within the UK creates for artists, crew and staff.

“Meanwhile we continue to encourage everyone in the live music community to please take a test before attending an event. This is a personal approach to risk mitigation that is highly effective and makes a real difference to the safety of gigs. #TakeaTest.”