Where does this stop? Sturgeon backlash over fears
Vaccine passport: Virologist reveals ‘limitation’ of Covid pass
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The controversial scheme was mired in confusion with businesses questioning its impact and the First Minister unable to say just how long proof of double vaccination status would be in force. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused Ms Sturgeon of overseeing “shambolic” and “knee-jerk” proposals as she failed to answer if the passports being brought in at the end of this month would be “permanent”. Challenged separately by Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, the First Minister could only say it was her “hope” they would be “time-limited”, prompting him to warn: “Where does this stop?”
A certification scheme will be introduced on September 30, subject to the Scottish Parliament’s approval, as a part of a desperate attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus and increase
uptake of the vaccine among the young.
Adults, except those with certain exempt medical conditions, will be forced to show they have received both doses before they can enter nightclubs or adult entertainment venues.
They will also have to show their vaccine passports to attend unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in the audience, unseated outdoor live events with more than 4,000
people and any event with more than 10,000 in attendance.
It comes despite SNP ministers signalling their opposition to certification. Health Secretary Humza Yousaf previously said he was “sceptical” about the case for vaccine passports, citing concerns that they could “increase the inequality gap”.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney also said he did not believe it was right to exclude people who do not want to be vaccinated following Boris Johnson’s decision to introduce certification in England.
During the opening session of First Minister’s Questions after parliament returned from the summer recess, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “There’s no time limit, and an open door for expansion. So can I ask the First Minister, where does this stop?”
Ms Sturgeon replied that it was a “proportionate step”, adding: “I hope it will be a time limited step.”
Mr Ross accused the First Minister of failing to answer questions about what Covid passports will mean for business.
He told her: “At the moment, hospitality groups, football clubs and venues have no idea about what infrastructure will be in place or if they’ll get any help to introduce this.
“It’s just another example of the shambolic, last minute, knee-jerk decision-making of this Government.”
Earlier, Mr Swinney told Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee the idea of the move was to maximise resistance within the population by increasing jab uptake, despite saying in July he opposed the “carrot and stick” approach of vaccine passports.
He also warned “further restrictions” could be introduced if they are not used.
SNP MSP Jim Fairlie asked Mr Swinney if vaccine certificates would be “time-limited”, adding: “If we’re accepting the fact that we have an endemic disease within our community, will the passports then be required forever?”
Mr Swinney replied: “It really depends on the course of the pandemic and the degree to which that becomes less of a presence and a prevalent threat to us.”
In response, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “John Swinney has put down the carrot and picked up the stick.”
It came as nightclub bosses and industry representatives have described plans to ban unvaccinated people from their venues as “incoherent” and an “absolute disgrace”.
Donald MacLeod, owner of the Garage and Cathouse nightclubs in Glasgow, said venues were being put at a “competitive disadvantage”.
He argued that the scheme, due to come into force later this month, should have been extended to pubs and bar to avoid singling out nightclubs.
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he told the Daily Record newspaper.
“I don’t think it’s been thought through. If a vaccine passport is being brought in, it should be one for all, all for one. It should not just target clubs and events.
“If the scheme was brought in across the whole of hospitality – including pubs and restaurants – all customers would get it.
“We are now at a competitive disadvantage. If you’re in a bar and considering visiting a club, many people will now decide they cannot be bothered.
“It’s going to be very damaging. It’s treating the industry with contempt and turning those that don’t have it into second class citizens.”
Mike Grieve, director of the Night-Time Industries Association Scotland, also described the policy as “incoherent” and “inconsistent” as the rules will apply to all nightclubs no matter how small they are.
He told the BBC: “There is zero consistency there. If you look at live music venues: standing capacity up to 500? No vaccine passport.
“Nightclub [with] 250 to 300 capacity? Vaccine passport. Where is the logic behind that?”
Seventeen Covid deaths and 6,400 new cases were recorded in Scotland.
There were 624 patients in hospital with 55 being treated in intensive care.
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