Vaccine passport spot checks allowed at larger events
Football matches and other large events will be able to implement spot checks of visitors’ vaccine passports under the new scheme to be launched from next month.
MSPs voted earlier in September to introduce a Covid certification system to ensure customers had received both doses of the vaccine before entry to certain events.
The First Minister confirmed on Tuesday that while smaller venues would be expected to check the vaccination status of all customers, large events would only be required to carry out “a reasonable number of checks” in accordance with their size.
Sturgeon said the passports were a “proportionate measure” in a bid to tackle Covid.
She also confirmed the definition of a nightclub, where vaccine certificates will be required before entry, would be venues which fulfilled all four of the following criteria:
- Open between midnight and 5am
- Serves alcohol after midnight
- Has live or recorded music for the purpose of dancing
- Has a designated space where dancing is permitted
Sturgeon said: “We are working with businesses and environmental health officers to provide specific advice and guidance on the level of checks that should be considered both reasonable and effective to fulfil the public health objective of certification.”
But she also confirmed the scheme would be kept under review, adding: “We will be prepared to make changes in light of experience and as, for example, upgrades and improvements are made to the operation of the app.
“We do however consider it an important part of our overall approach to controlling the virus to have a certification scheme operational soon.”
The scheme will become operational from 5am on Friday 1 October.
It will cover indoor unseated events with more than 500 people, outdoor unseated events with more than 4,000 people and all events with more than 10,000 people.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has reiterated its warning vaccine passports will become an "economic deterrant" and said the timescale for them being brought it would not be "workable" for many businesses.
Chief executive Dr Liz Cameron said the announcement today means the scheme "goes well beyond what was initially proposed".
She said: "The criteria and definition now set out by the Scottish Government will unfortunately, by default, extend to many of our hotels, pubs, major sporting events and other hospitality and tourism businesses. Thousands of these businesses will now be caught up in vaccine certification rules, with little time left to understand, plan and implement them before the deadline of 1 October."
Meanwhile, the First Minister said the Scottish Government had “real concerns” about changes to testing requirements for international travel being brought in by the UK Government and would make an announcement on this in the coming days.
She also said she was “even more confident” that Covid case numbers in Scotland had now started to fall, with a drop in new cases being seen across all age groups.
But she warned there continued to be a risk that numbers would rise again in the winter, at a time the NHS was already under “considerable pressure”.