There has been speculation about whether vaccine passports will be introduced ever since the vaccination campaign began in the UK back in December 2020. And whilst the UK government initially rejected the idea, it seems to once again be back on the agenda for a number of businesses.
Here we look at what vaccine passports are, the news that nightclubs will be required to ask for vaccine passports for entry and whether this could be extended to other businesses in the future.
What is a vaccine passport?
Vaccine passports are essentially a way of showing your COVID vaccination status.
In the UK this is currently provided by the NHS COVID Pass. The government definition is that it allows you to ‘demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at events and venues in England.’
There are two ways to get your NHS COVID Pass – through the NHS app or by calling 119 and requesting an NHS COVID Pass letter.
For domestic and travel use, you can obtain a COVID pass:
- 2 weeks after completing a full course of a vaccination approved for use in England
- With evidence of a positive PCR test (and you have finished self-isolating). This lasts 180 days from the date of the PCR test.
You can obtain a pass for use in the UK (but not for travel):
- With evidence of a negative PCR or lateral flow COVID test within 48 hours of entry to a venue
Vaccine passports for nightclubs
On the 19th July it was announced that vaccine passports would become a requirement for nightclubs from the end of September 2021. This means to enter a nightclub you will need to be fully vaccinated. News also suggests this will apply to other venues with large crowds.
This is the first announcement of vaccines being mandatory for entry into a business and means a negative COVID test or proof of immunity will not be sufficient to gain entry to a nightclub from the end of September. Those wishing to go to nightclubs (or other crowded venues) will have to be fully vaccinated.
The delay in introducing the vaccine passport rule is to allow the entire UK adult population chance to be fully vaccinated.
Will vaccine passports be extended to other business?
This very much remains to be seen. The announcement in July only mentioned nightclubs and other venues which attract large crowds- although there isn’t much detail around the types of businesses this may include yet.
Double vaccination is becoming a requirement in other areas. It already enables individuals to avoid self-isolation when returning from an amber list country (except France). And from the 16th August those who have been double vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19.
So, we could feasibly see this extended further and to other businesses.
What do business need to know about vaccine passports?
Currently government advice revolves around encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high-risk settings to help to limit the risk of infection.
But as above, for nightclubs and other venues which have large crowds, providing proof of full vaccination will become mandatory for anyone who wants to enter the premises.
Details of how this will be managed in practice from the end of September are currently not available on the gov.uk website however, it seems likely that:
- It will be mandatory, with businesses (such as nightclubs) who fall into the impacted categories not able to choose if they request proof of vaccination or not
- The NHS COVID Pass will be the chosen method for people to provide proof of vaccination
- Allowances will need to be made for both employees and customers who are medically exempt from taking up the vaccination
At Anthony Jones we appreciate the challenges which businesses have faced over the past year and a half and the difficulties which changing operating conditions have posed. If you have any questions about an existing business insurance policy or are reviewing your business insurance needs at this time do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of friendly experts who will be more than happy to help. Contact us on 020 8290 9080 or email us at email@example.com