Whilst NTIA Scotland remain opposed to the continued application of vaccine passports in late night settings, we are encouraged by Scottish Government’s decision today that the scheme will not be rolled out further at this time. This is a sensible and pragmatic decision which takes into account the extraordinary harm businesses have suffered as a result of restrictions over the last 2 years, the lack of evidence that this scheme has any meaningful impact on vaccine uptake, concerns around human rights, and also recognises that the current trajectory of infections and hospitalisations is falling.
Vaccine passports have however been devastating to businesses already affected, with turnover down around 40%, So we now call on Scottish Government to urgently review whether continued application of the scheme is either necessary or proportionate and provide urgent financial grant support to those businesses that remain in scope of the scheme.
It is a positive step in the right direction that Lateral Flow Tests will now be included as an alternative to double vaccination, which will safeguard late night venues in particular, and is something the trade body has advocated for from the inception of this scheme.
This brings Scotland in line with other European nations, and partially alleviates at least some of the equalities and social exclusion harms that were previously the case. However the experience in Wales indicates that affected businesses, even with LFT inclusion, have still suffered a 26% decrease in trade.
Our sector are working positively and constructively with government to increase public awareness and maximise Covid safety during the vital Christmas trading season