Chaos over vaccine scheme as Yousaf says: ‘let them in’
Humza Yousaf: ‘hoping for quick fix’
Scotland’s controversial vaccine passport system was thrown into further chaos this weekend as the Health Secretary told people to ignore it.
Technical issues meant football clubs would not introduce the scheme as planned.
Thousands of people struggled to download the app that allows access to large events and nightclubs, prompting more calls from opposition MSPs for the government to abandon it.
Those calls grew louder as Health Secretary Humza Yousaf urged door staff to allow people entry in to venues without the proper paperwork.
Mr Yousaf said he hoped the issues would be fixed “in a matter of hours, but it may be a matter of days”.
Scottish football clubs initially said they would comply with the regulation, but last night three clubs – Aberdeen, Hearts and Rangers – said no-one will be refused entry for failing to produce a vaccine certificate for this weekend’s matches.
Speaking on Saturday morning, Andy Smith, chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association, said it had been a “mess” and that there was wide interpretation over use of the word “reasonable” in enforcing the regulation. However, he said it “would be sorted”.
The passport scheme is being introduced successfully in a number of European countries.
Aberdeen FC were due to spot check fans before the club’s game against Celtic on Sunday, but said “unanswered questions on implementation” of vaccine passports had forced the postponement.
Spot checks will be carried out as a “trail run” at Hearts’ Tynecastle stadium today but no fans will be refused entry for the match with Motherwell.
Rangers has said the match at Ibrox against Hibernian will be used as a “test event” and no supporters will be refused entry due to vaccine status.
The new rules came into effect at 5am on Friday –but the government announced earlier this week that they would not be enforced until 18 October following concerns expressed by businesses.
Hospitality chiefs say there are still issues over definitions of venues and how the system will be operated.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said there should be an “indefinite delay” to the rollout of the new scheme to avoid a “weekend of chaos” at venues across the country.
He added: “Thousands of people will be at the football and going out to hospitality premises this weekend.
“This plan should really be scrapped altogether but, if the SNP insist on charging ahead, they must indefinitely delay the vaccine passport scheme until the most basic issues are ironed out.”
Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the launch of the app had been a “complete shambles”, adding: “It is typical of the SNP to rush this out when it clearly doesn’t work.”