UK Hospitality slams vaccine passport plansBy Melita Kiely
Trade body UK Hospitality has hit out at plans to make Covid-19 vaccine passports mandatory for nightclubs and other indoor venues this month.
UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed vaccine passports will be required to enter large venues, such as nightclubs, from the end of September to avoid winter closures because of Covid-19.
Trade body UK Hospitality has vehemently criticised the initiative, calling the scheme a “hammer blow” to businesses that were only allowed to recently reopen. Remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England were lifted on 19 July, meaning nightclubs were able to reopen for the first time since March 2020.
Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO, said: “A scheme introducing mandatory Covid passports for certain venues and events will be unworkable, cause conflict between staff and customers and will force business to deal with complex equality rules. Operators may even be forced into a position where they have to let unvaccinated staff go, at a time when there are record levels of staff shortages across the industry.
“The hospitality sector has invested heavily to ensure customers are safe and we have proved venues are Covid secure. Introducing a scheme such as this will be a hammer blow to businesses such as nightclubs that were closed by the government for nearly 18 months, and have only recently been able to trade viably and make progress toward rebuilding and paying off accrued debts.
“Over the past year our sector has been devastated and businesses have only known forced closure or the most severe restrictions. This policy will be devastating for businesses that remain fragile and will certainly derail recovery and cost thousands of jobs.”
The trade body has long been campaigning against the idea of vaccine passports for the nightlife sector.
The hospitality sector as a whole still faces mounting rent debts – an issue not only for the UK, but one affecting the industry worldwide.
Furthermore, no-shows across the globe are devastating the industry.
A recent study showed Covid-19 has cost the UK hospitality sector £100.2 billion (US$140bn) in trading since the start of the pandemic.