First weekend chaos
Vaccine passports debut an ‘unmitigated disaster’
Covid certification controversy
Nightclub bosses say the first weekend of Scotland’s new vaccine passport scheme was an “unmitigated disaster” with some staff being abused and forced to go home early because of stress.
The Scottish `Hospitality Group, representing a number of bars, restaurants and clubs, said the Scottish Government had failed to provide enough support ahead of the scheme’s first major test since legal enforcement came into effect last Monday .
The group, which renewed its call for the scheme to be scrapped, released new data revealing that over the first weekend there were:
- More than 550 incidences where venue staff had to reject entry due to the customer having no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport
- A “concerning” number of reports of abuse of hospitality staff over rejections and queues at venues
- Continuing problems with the vaccine passports app and its update
- Declines in footfall by up to 40% and mainly in venues which would normally close at 2am and did not previously require door staff
- Forced closures of venues at midnight either because of recruitment or staff wellbeing
Some venues also reported that a number of staff had struggled with the stress of a “charged atmosphere” and had to go home early from their shifts
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster – and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish Government.
“The Scottish Hospitality Group has been warning the Government for weeks that their vaccine passports scheme is not ready – but the Government’s attitude has been to tell us to ‘get on with it’ whilst offering no safety net of support for businesses or our hard working staff.
“The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.
“We are clearly seeing venues being forced to close at midnight to take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare.
“How can we rebuild customer confidence when we are the ones being faced with the customer anger and confusion , whilst being made to enforce this policy in law, which has been made simply to increase vaccination levels in the younger dermagraphic?
“The reality is that it’s not vaccine passports that will end this health crisis – Government themselves have acknowledged that the solution is an acceleration of booster vaccinations.
“The Scottish hospitality industry as a whole, has paid enough for Government failures in this pandemic, and it’s time the Scottish Government scrapped this scheme altogether.”