Call for evidence

Events facing axe over vaccine passport plan

Event organisers may move some events out of Scotland

Some events planned for Scotland may be cancelled or moved to other parts of the UK if the Scottish Government does not respond to concerns over vaccine passports.

A business chief says that losing big events just as the sector is getting back on its feet would be another blow for the economy.

Vaccine passports will become mandatory to enter nightclubs, big music concerts and top football matches under new plans unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron has issued a list of seven key concerns in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Among them is a warning that vaccination certification “would add yet another layer of administrative burden to sectors that have already been amongst the hardest hit”.

Ms Cameron adds: “Through our initial conversations with businesses, we understand those operating in the live events sector are putting in place contingency plans including considering cancelling events or re-organising for elsewhere in the UK, putting Scotland at a further economic disadvantage.”

Liz Cameron

Liz Cameron: called for evidence (pic: Terry Murden)

Chamber members have raised concerns over the pace at which certifications are to be issued, the specific outcome set to be achieved and the end date of utilising this measure.

“Without clarity on these points, this measure will be viewed as an additional economic deterrent and runs the risk of making it more difficult for these sectors to restart and recover,” writes Ms Cameron.

She has called for the publication of “specific evidence and modelling” which demonstrates how vaccine certifications will reduce transmission in the settings that will require vaccine certification to be presented.

There is also confusion, she said, over which businesses will be subject to certifications and no plans for those, including staff, who have no choice over their attendance in these venues.

The Scottish Government later said certificates would only be required for “attendees” at venues, not staff.

Ms Cameron, who has also urged the government not to re-introduce restrictions until there is clarity on “what circumstances would trigger such a move”, says businesses have spent the last year playing their role in keeping people safe and case numbers as low as possible

“The data shows the success of the vaccination programme has effectively broken the link between infections, hospital admissions and deaths, and there appears to be little risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases,” she says.

“The Scottish Government’s strategy is to now “suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future” and whilst businesses were relieved when Scotland moved beyond level 0 last month, many will see the introduction of vaccine certificates as effectively a restriction in itself.”

The introduction of vaccine certification will be debated in the Scottish parliament next week.

See also:

Vaccine passports to enter nightclubs and big events

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