Welsh Covid pass expansion ‘not based on evidence’ say Lib Dems

Yesterday Welsh parliament (Senedd) approved plans to extend mandatory vaccine passports to enter cinemas and theatres.

Last month MSs approved mandating vaccine passports for access to large events and nightclubs by just one vote after a Conservative member could not log on to Zoom.

Currently people have to show they are fully vaccinated, have tested negative for Covid, or have recently had the virus to enter nightclubs and large events in Wales.

The new rules will come into force for entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls from November 15th.

Commenting after the vote in favour of the extension of Covid passes, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS stated: “The Welsh Liberal Democrats are extremely disappointed to see the covid pass system extended. Our view remains that the system is both illiberal and unworkable and we have not been provided with evidence to the contrary. The Welsh Government has broken trust by expanding a scheme it initially stated was for very limited circumstances.

“Despite requests to the Health Minister, we have not been provided with any evidence that shows the scheme has been effective in keeping down case numbers. There has also been no evidence provided to as why cinemas, theatres and concert halls have been singled out specifically.

“Both the Government’s own advisory unit and Chief Medical Officer have themselves admitted in the last week that the impact of the scheme is likely very small.

“It is deeply concerning the impact this decision will have on small businesses across Wales, over the last few weeks a number of community cinemas and theatres have gotten in touch with to express their fear of how they are meant to hire new staff to enforce this scheme without any financial support from the Welsh Government.

“Beyond the practical implications of this scheme remains an example of poor law-making with no set review period. How long will the passes be in place? Where and when will they be expanded to next?

“There will be serious financial repercussions if the scheme is expanded to other forms of hospitality including restaurants and cafes. We could also end up in the same situation as Italy, which has now mandated COVID Passports for public transport.

“Finally, I find it utterly hypocritical for the Conservatives to pretend they are the ones defending civil liberties and evidence-based policy when their Party is currently trying to push through voter ID against all evidence showing that it is ineffective and unnecessary.

“The willingness for Plaid Cymru and the Conservative to only stand up for liberal values and civil liberties when it suits them best shows exactly why the Welsh Liberal Democrats are needed in the Senedd.”

Commenting on the U-turn by Plaid Cymru Jane Dodds said:

“In their U-turn Plaid Cymru have also shown us today that they will only stand up for liberal values when it suits them politically.

“The facts on the ground have not changed at all since the last vote has been held. Unless Plaid Cymru knows something the rest of us don’t, there is no reason they should have changed their mind.”