Well, this story just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? After weeks of going cool on its own proposal for vaccine passports to enter England’s nightclubs, the Health Secretary announced on his media round on Sunday that they were dead. Then it turned out they might not be dead.
Yesterday, a government document officially confirmed that vaccine passports definitely weren’t dead. They were just kept being in the cupboard for the time being. The document talks about how the British government will deal with Covid-19 over this coming winter. This, of course, only applies in England – quite how the other nations of the UK will approach this subject is not yet known.
The situation this year is obviously different due to the fact vaccines now exist, but the gist of the document is basically this. If hospitals are coping, things in England will stay much the same as they are now – that’s Plan A. If hospitals run into trouble, mandatory face masks could be introduced, social distancing brought back and vaccine passports introduced – or Plan B, as they’re calling it.
This time around, however, they will not apply solely to nightclubs. They will be mandatory for any indoor venue holding 500 or more, or outdoor venue holding 4000. And these places will have just seven days to get ready if Plan B is enacted.
It’s worth reading the entire section in all its glory, and here it is…
Nightclubs have to essentially make a gamble under these rules. Enforce them voluntarily now, potentially unnecessarily if Plan B is never enacted. Or don’t enforce them voluntarily and be forced to rush them in very quickly if the plan goes ahead. If I was a betting man, I’d say the former is more sensible than the latter – but whether the nightclub trade will agree is another question.
What isn’t included in the plan? A full national lockdown is the answer to that. The furlough scheme ends in just over two weeks time, and a new lockdown would essentially mean having to extend or renew it.
The report contains no details, however, about what would happen to venues which refused to enforce such a policy. As ever, I get the distinct feeling this has been rushed out at the last minute to pacify people…