Vaccine passports will not be extended to more venues in Scotland

23 November 2021, 14:50 | Updated: 23 November 2021, 15:55

By Sophie Barnett

Scotland's controversial vaccine passport scheme will not be extended to include more venues, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

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The First Minister said the extension of the scheme would "not be proportionate", given its impact on businesses.

"This was a very finely balanced decision," she said to MSPs in Holyrood on Tuesday.

"However, I can confirm that at this stage we have decided not to extend the scope of the scheme.

"We have taken account of the fact that - although our situation is precarious - cases are currently stable and indeed slightly declining; and we have considered the inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the operation of businesses; and concluded that, at this stage, extension would not be proportionate.

"We were also mindful of the need over the coming weeks of getting across the message that it is important to be vaccinated and tested ahead of socialising in any setting - including in homes and shopping centres, for example - not just in those that might be covered by a certification scheme."

Since October, people in Scotland have been required to show proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and large events like gigs and football matches.

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The Scottish government had been considering extending the scheme to other settings - as well as strengthening rules around the wearing of face coverings and home working - amid concerns about pressure on the health services over winter.

In addition, there will be some changes to what will be accepted as a form of "Covid passport".

From December 6, the First Minister said proof of a negative lateral flow will also be used to access nightclubs or large events, rather than the use of a vaccine passport.

Speaking to MSPs on Tuesday, the First Minister said the situation in Scotland regarding Covid-19 remains "precarious".

She said that "invidious" decisions were having to be made across the world, adding: "While, thankfully, we are not at this stage seeing the rapid rise in cases that others are experiencing, the situation remains precarious.

"Cases are on the rise, to a greater or lesser extent, in countries all around us, including here in the UK, and we're also entering a period where - understandably - people will be socialising and mixing more than normal."

She urged Scots and businesses to continue following Covid measures to help keep rates down.

She said: "So to everyone watching, my request in a nutshell is as follows - please pass it on to your friends and family.

"This is what all of us, government, businesses and individual citizens, must do together - as part of a social compact - to keep each other as safe as possible and allow us to live as freely as possible."

Ms Sturgeon went on to urge Scots to continue with basic hygiene measures, the wearing of face coverings, work from home where possible and get vaccinated.

She also asked that a lateral flow test is taken before anyone socialises or mixes with those outside their own household.

This story is being updated