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No Vaccine passport, no entry: The COVID combat strategy of Scotland

No Vaccine passport, no entry: The COVID combat strategy of Scotland

Scotland imposed a vaccine passport scheme in the past week. The strategy turned into a disaster soon after. The night-time venue staff stopped visitors from entering the premises of their establishment because some revellers couldn’t show their legit vaccine passports. The Scottish Hospitality Group reported that they stopped the entry at least 550 times because none had the vaccine passport. The venue staff was just following the standard protocol, yet they were abused heavily. 

In fact, many establishments slashed down their working hours and closed early, owing to which the sales dropped by 40% approximately. 

According to the Scottish government, they took a “proportionate” health measure to stop the spread of COVID by introducing this scheme. The distinguished ministers of the Scottish government strongly believe that this calculated measure will propel people to get inoculated to fight against COVID-19 in large numbers. This is a step towards keeping the night venues open during the “potentially very difficult” winter. 

The vaccine passport was launched on October 1st, 2021, and a grace period was accepted to help the venues adapt to the new rules and regulations. However, the Scottish Hospitality group never stood for this move initiated by the Scottish authorities. In fact, it repeatedly informed the administrative bodies that they were not ready with the whole vaccine passport thing.

But, the government kept on insisting, “get on with it.” The authorities did nothing to protect the integrity of the business and the financial or physical safety of the venue staff who work hard to earn their living through the hospitality business. The spokesperson of the Scottish Hospitality Group, Stephen Montgomery, showed utter discontent over this decision of the government to provide no safety net. He said, “The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.”

Some venues even faced problems with staff recruitment and welfare. Hence, they decided to close before midnight. In fact, many Scottish conservatives believe that this government scheme is “unworkable and unreasonable” because there is no financial backing for the hard-working staff in different venues. Spokesperson Murdo Fraser, who belongs to the Covid recovery team, said: “What is most concerning is the levels of abuse hospitality workers have been subjected to, caused by a lack of public engagement, and a frustrating and unreliable app.”

The significance of “Difficult Winter”

The Scottish government is proactively engaging with the hospitality sector to discuss how the scheme can be implemented, keeping everyone’s best interests at heart. They are insistent on the fact that in order to keep the night-time venues open at night during the harsh winters in Scotland, they have to encourage more people to get vaccinated as fast as possible.

People will come together, drink and dance together. Plus, the Christmas festive window will trigger the further spread of COVID-19. Hence, they are keeping their guards up to protect people from getting infected in large numbers. This way, the businesses will not have to close down during the difficult winters. Instead, they can continue to remain in business and help the hard-working staff to fend for themselves. They want to ensure that the premises of all the night-time venues remain safe for all the customers as well as the staff. 

What will the working procedure of the vaccine passport scheme be? 

The people living in Scotland who have been inoculated with both the doses of the Covid vaccine can download the vaccine certificate or carry a paper copy of the same that has a QR code on it. 

  • Each individual above 18 must carry this vaccine passport with them to enter the night-time venues. 
  • The venues included are nightclubs and “analogous venues.” 
  • Entertainment venues for adult entertainment. 
  • Indoor events with more than 500 guests (seated & unseated). 
  • Outdoor events with more than 4000 guests, like concerts, live shows, carnivals, and more. 
  • Any gathering, irrespective of the type, that might have more than 10000 guests. 

Under the vaccine passport scheme, venues must include a “reasonable system” just to scrutinize the condition of the customers (whether vaccinated or not). However, there will be specific exemptions based on the medical condition of the individual. 

For events like live football matches, on-the-spot checks will be done. But, thorough checking will be done for gatherings having fewer people.