A document leaked today suggests that the implementation of vaccine passports could exacerbate Covid rates and cost the hospitality industry billions.
The government’s impact assessment, reported on by the Telegraph newspaper this morning, said the certification could potentially be “counterintuitive” and “counterproductive” given that they could encourage people to gather in badly ventilated bars and pubs rather than larger venues.
The report, compiled by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said that “Evidence from the Euros showed spikes in cases associated with pubs even when England were playing abroad.”
The newspaper quoted parts of the report that claimed just one month of vaccine passports, which the government have already said could be mandated in a “plan B” winter scenario could see passport-compliant venue profits slashed by up to £2.067 billion, as 5,700 extra staff would be required in venues with a capacity of 10,000 plus people.
If plan B guidelines are enforced, certification of vaccination or medical exemption will be required at nightclubs, indoor settings with 500 plus attendees, outdoor settings with over 4,000 plus attendees, and any other venue with over 10,000 attendees.
A departmental spokesperson told the Telegraph there is “currently no evidence to suggest that businesses have been impacted by lower attendance when certification is used, with various venues already using this on entry throughout the year” and that plan B would on be implemented” if evidence suggested the NHS was going to come under unsustainable pressure.”
Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme came into force on 18 October, and has received widespread criticism.
The Scottish Hospitality Group have said the scheme should be scrapped after it complained of a 40 per cent fall in footfall, and abuse from members of the public.
The debate comes amidst growing calls from the medical community to impose tighter restrictions ahead of a potential winter crisis in the NHS.
Figures released last week by NHS England showed there are a record 5.7 million people in England waiting for hospital treatment, a figure set to grow by 100,000 a month.
Officials are also reportedly monitoring a new descendant of the Delta variant responsible for a rising proportion of Covid cases, but Number 10 has argued that there is “no evidence to suggest it is more easily spread”.