The decision to end “discriminatory” vaccine passport schemes in England was welcomed by nightlife and music industry officials.
Requiring night owls to provide evidence that they received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine would have challenged the sector as it seeks revitalization after the strict lockdown measures imposed on them by early this year, said the experts.
Health Minister Sajid Javid announced a U-turn on Sunday after his ministerial colleagues defended the plans earlier this week.
Parklife Festival co-founder Sacha Lord, who is also the night economics advisor for Greater Manchester, said, “I am delighted to see that the government has listened to the events and nightlife industry, and has dropped plans for vaccine passports.
“The plans were untenable and illogical, and there were several factors that would have been discriminatory and legally questionable.
“As an industry, we can now move forward without hesitation or vague regulations.
“We welcomed over 80,000 visitors to the Parklife Festival this weekend. After we had to cancel the festival last year due to Covid, it is a meaningful weekend and an extremely positive step as we try to rebuild the events industry in the UK. “
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), also welcomed the decision.
He said: “After an intense political and public campaign by the NTIA, its members and broad industry supporters, we welcome the comments from the Minister of Health this morning on the government’s decision to lift the proposed mandate of Covid passports from the end of September.
“We hope that companies can now plan for the future with some certainty, regain customer and workforce trust, and begin rebuilding an industry that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.
“Our focus now is on ensuring that the Chancellor’s October budget gives us the financial headroom to rebuild and that the industry maintains its exemplary record of supporting the public health strategy to protect our employees and our customers.”
The Music Venue Trust (MVT) said the vaccine passports did not improve security and described the plans as “problematic”.
A spokeswoman for the charity said, “The government’s proposed double vaccination certification program posed a number of challenges related to deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination. MVT has been describing these issues to ministers and departments for the past two months and we therefore welcome the decision not to pursue this policy.
“It is important to reiterate that grassroots music events need the tools to create safe events. They are experts in risk mitigation and there is ample evidence to show that working with the live community has gone a long way towards making each venue safe to reopen.
“Our problem with the double vaccination certificate as the only requirement for entry was that it was highly unlikely that there would be improved security beyond the measures already in place, and that there was a high probability that a two-tier night economy would be created that separates venues and customers .
“We are awaiting formal confirmation from the government that these problematic passports will be scrapped.
“In the meantime, we continue to encourage everyone in the live music community to take a pre-event test, a personal approach to risk reduction that is very effective and makes a real difference to concert safety.”