Government’s OWN assessment warns that ‘Plan B’ vaccine passports might backfire and FUEL Covid surge by pushing people to go to smaller pubs with fewer safeguards after ‘unmitigated disaster’ rollout in Scotland
- Vaccine passports would be introduced under Government’s Covid-19 ‘Plan B’
- It would mean double-jabbed status is needed to gain entry to certain venues
- Government’s impact assessment says this could push people to small venues
- Pushing people to small pubs with poor ventilation could then fuel spike in cases
Introducing vaccine passports could cause a spike in coronavirus cases because people may ditch large venues and gather in small pubs with poor ventilation instead, the Government’s own impact assessment has warned.
Boris Johnson‘s coronavirus ‘Plan B’ would see people having to prove they are double-jabbed to gain access to certain hospitality, entertainment and sporting settings.
But a document examining the economic and social impact of the policy suggested that it could backfire.
The document, written by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), expressed concerns that people could stay away from large venues and meet elsewhere to avoid having to show documentation.
The impact assessment, seen by The Telegraph, warned rolling out the policy in England would require firms to hire thousands of new stewards to check vaccine status.
It concluded this could be difficult to deliver, while the checks themselves could result in ‘bottlenecks’ at large venues and stadiums.
The document reportedly warned the policy could cost firms £2billion in lost turnover if it was in place over a six month period.
Vaccine passports have already been rolled out in Scotland, with hospitality chiefs labelling their introduction an ‘unmitigated disaster’.
Boris Johnson’s coronavirus ‘Plan B’ would see people having to prove they are double-jabbed to gain access to certain hospitality, entertainment and sporting settings
But a Government document examining the economic and social impact of the policy suggested that it could backfire
The Government’s ‘Plan B’ would see vaccine passports introduced in certain settings for people aged 18 or over.
The policy would focus on settings where crowds mix and and come into close contact.
Settings would include all nightclubs and other venues open after 1am with alcohol, music and dancing.
Indoor events where more than 500 people will be mixing – like concert halls and large receptions – would also be included along with outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more people in attendance.
Any settings with 10,000 or more people attending, like sports stadiums, would also be included.
The Government’s impact assessment looked at the potential ‘displacement effects’ of the policy.
It states: ‘A core concern is that certification could displace activity and business away from music venues to, say, pubs with music and late alcohol licences, etc, which could be counter-intuitive and potentially counter-productive.’
It states that pushing people away from larger venues ‘could lead to them attending unstructured and poorly ventilated pubs instead, where they will have access to more alcohol than if there were in the stadia’.
The document said that evidence from the Euros football tournament earlier this year showed that Covid cases linked to pubs increased even when England were playing abroad.
Proof of full vaccination is now required to enter nightclubs and large events in Scotland.
The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) said that staff had faced ‘intolerable levels of abuse’ and some venues saw a drop in footfall of up to 40 per cent in the first week of the scheme.
It has called on the Scottish Government to scrap the scheme, which has been legally enforceable since October 18.
Ministers in England have said they do not intend to trigger ‘Plan B’ imminently despite health chiefs calling for action to stop a surge in coronavirus cases.
A DCMS spokesman said: ‘There is currently no evidence to suggest that businesses have been impacted by lower attendance when certification is used, with various venues already using this on entry throughout the year.
‘Plan B is as published in the Autumn and Winter Plan and this document does not represent government policy.’