Failure of talks
Nightclubs take legal action over vaccine passports
Clubs are angry at the passport plan
Nightclub owners have launched a legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s vaccine passport.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland said it had instructed its legal team to “commence proceedings” in a bid to stop the introduction of the scheme at the end of next week.
In a statement, it said the scheme is “neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful”.
Vaccine passports will be required in nightclubs, live indoor unseated events of more than 500 people, live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people, and any event of more than 10,000 people, such as top level football and rugby matches.
The NTIA said it had been in dialogue with Government over the last three weeks.
“Uunfortunately that dialogue has not in any way resembled a meaningful consultation between Government and the sector,” it said.
However, the organisation said it remains ready to work with the Scottish Government should it choose to take on board the sector’s concerns and work collaboratively “to find a better and more deliverable solution”.
It added: “This vaccine passport scheme as currently proposed raises serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact amongst others, and had Scottish Government been prepared to work with sectoral experts in the earliest stages of policy formulation some of these deep rooted problems may have been avoidable.
“It is also clear to us that the policy as currently proposed is neither proportionate, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful.
“Regrettably, then, and given the serious flaws in the policy as proposed, we have now instructed our legal team to commence proceedings against the Scottish Government with a legal challenge to vaccination passports.”
It is not the first time the NTIA has launched legal action against the Scottish government. Similar moves were made in April to challenge the restrictions at that time.
The scheme has also been criticised by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce whose chief executive Liz Cameron said it was “unworkable”.
She said the proposals “go well beyond what was initially proposed” by including more establishments and that they leave businesses having to pick up the cost and implement the scheme in just a few days time.
Commenting on the latest move, Scottish Labour’s Finance and Economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “This plunges the SNP’s misguided vaccine passport scheme into yet more chaos.
“SNP ministers have provided no impact assessment, no details on what business will need to do or even how the criteria will apply with only days before these measures will be brought in. It is no wonder trade bodies feel forced to challenge the government in the courts.
“This is the last thing businesses need while they are teetering on the edge. Additional costs and lost revenue could force many to close for good.
“Rather than ministers telling businesses what is good for them, the Health Secretary and his colleagues should be listening to the sector and offering support to get them back on their feet.”