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Scotland's Vaccine Passports Scheme For Club Entry Delayed
Christian Eede , September 29th, 2021 16:33

The delay is the result of a legal challenge by a nightlife industry body

Plans to introduce vaccine passports as a requirement of entry to nightclubs and various event spaces in Scotland have been delayed for 17 days.

The scheme was intended to launch from this Friday (October 1), but a legal challenge from Scotland's arm of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), acting on behalf of venue owners and industry figures, means that while rules concerning the use of vaccine passports will come in from October 1, they will not become a legal requirement until October 18.

Announcing the change of plan, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told members of parliament that she now understood venues needed more time to prepare and adjust to the new measures ahead of them coming into place. The plans mean that anyone over the age of 18 will need provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entering unseated indoor events with a capacity of more than 500, unseated outdoor events for more than 4,000 people, or any gathering of more than 10,000.

"The government is persuaded that a COVID certification scheme will help us mitigate the risk the virus poses to us over the winter," Sturgeon told member of parliament. "However, the pragmatic compromise that I have just outlined in relation to a staged introduction of the scheme demonstrates, I hope, that we are listening to business about the practical challenges they face."

The NTIA launched its legal challenge against the measures in their current form because the group, and its members, believed they were "deeply flawed and incoherent." The organisation asked a team of lawyers to file for a judicial review of the measures, raising concerns that the proposals were not put in place with proper consultation on what defines a 'nightclub', and the lack of clarity could see bars and pubs impacted too.

Sturgeon first confirmed plans for the introduction of vaccine passports at the start of September, following the reopening of clubs in Scotland in August. Sturgeon's decision to go ahead with the measures stand in contrast to the UK government's recent U-turn on the introduction of vaccine passports for clubs and event spaces in England.