The Government has called on those working in the events industry to contribute their views on the potential use of ‘vaccine passports’ in England, should Covid-19 cases increase in winter to the point at which the NHS becomes overwhelmed.
While nothing has been confirmed, those working in the events industry are encouraged to answer a series of questions and submit them no later than 11 October via email.
The Autumn and Winter Plan 2021, published on 14 September, states that if the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. Should it be introduced, it is likely it would be at short notice.
In the plan, the Government noted its intention that vaccine certification could form part of a Plan B, however, final decisions on the policy have not been made. Under Plan B, in certain settings, mandatory vaccine-only certification could be introduced for all visitors aged 18 or over; and members of the workforce aged 18 or over in these settings could then be required to test regularly if they are not fully vaccinated.
“The Government invites responses to the detail on the proposed certification regime which could be introduced as part of Plan B,” a press release read.
“The Government is particularly interested in views from businesses, event organisers and venue operators, including from those that have experience of using certification on a voluntary basis over the summer, and on the proposals for the workforce.”
The statement went on to read: “This opportunity for engagement will enable the Government to take into account relevant comments and views, making any warranted revisions.
“We are now asking for responses by 11 October, although we encourage stakeholders to submit views as quickly as possible in case there is need to introduce certification, as part of Plan B, at short notice.”
Which settings could be affected?
Under Plan B, the Government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification for visitors to venues and events, and vaccine-or-test certification for the workforce would be introduced for the following venues and events: all nightclubs, and other venues open after 1am with alcohol, music and dancing; indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions; outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals; or any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia
There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS Covid Pass, such as: communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events.