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Photography Alexander Popov, via Unsplash

Vaccine passports for pubs are ‘discriminatory’, says nightlife experts

The NTIA has criticised the government’s proposal for the hospitality sector to require vaccine certificates on entry to venues

Last week (March 24), the government announced that it was considering implementing a ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policy at UK pubs. Under the proposal, venues which only grant entry to those with vaccine passports will be exempt from social distancing rules.

The suggestion was quickly met with backlash – in no small part because the government followed it up by saying that the move would “nudge” young people to get vaccinated, seemingly ignoring the fact that most young people are yet to be offered the vaccine. Later that day, Boris Johnson backtracked, saying COVID checks wouldn’t be required until everyone had been offered it.

Now, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has responded to the proposals, calling them “unworkable” and “discriminatory”. Speaking to Dazed, CEO Michael Kill says: “There are some clear challenges around the implementation of a health passport. The narrative presented around compulsory vaccination for entry into hospitality or night time economy spaces will present a huge range of barriers, potential confrontation, and discrimination.”

He continues: “The biggest challenge is that the core market for the industry will not be given the opportunity to receive their vaccine in time for opening as part of the roadmap, therefore excluding a huge part of the audience if this were to be mandatory.”

“The nightlife sector has been overlooked on many occasions – it’s escaped government narrative for the best part of the 12 months apart from to tell businesses they won't be open. The broad brush approach by the government gives rise to its lack of understanding of the sector, and with this, the disproportionate support for many within the industries community.”

In a statement, Kill added: “There is a clear disparity between the way that the night time economy and hospitality sector businesses are being treated by the government, with the likes of supermarkets and retail being given extended hours, no mandatory track and trace, and in particular non-essential retail being given a more favourable date for re-opening at the cost of hospitality businesses.”

In November, the NTIA warned that clubs across the UK are facing extinction due to a lack of government support throughout the pandemic. In recent months, a number of renowned venues have announced their closure, including Canavan’s in Peckham and Zanzibar Club in Liverpool. Others are crowdfunding to help stop themselves from permanently shuttering. In October, G-A-Y launched a lawsuit against the government, demanding a review of its now-defunct 10PM curfew – the court later refused the legal challenge.

Look back at Dazed’s exploration into the future of partying in a post-pandemic world here.