Covid passports extended to arts venues in Wales in response to 'very high' virus rates

15 November 2021, 05:59 | Updated: 15 November 2021, 06:13

Venues such as cinemas will now require proof of vaccination or a negative test
Venues such as cinemas will now require proof of vaccination or a negative test. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

People in Wales will need to use their NHS Covid passes to enter cinemas, theatres and concert halls from today.

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The extension of the scheme is one of a number of measures to be strengthened in response to a high level of the virus across the country.

People are also being encouraged to revert back to working from home, according to the Welsh Government.

Self-isolation guidance has also been changed for people who live with someone who tests positive for coronavirus.

They are now told to self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR test, whilst previously they only needed to quarantine if they got symptoms or tested positive.

The extension of the Covid pass to cinemas, theatres and concert halls for the over-18s was approved by the Senedd in a vote last week.

Dawn Bowden, deputy minister for arts and sport, said cases were "very high" and a collective effort was needed to "bring them under control" and keep arts venues open.

"Extending the use of the Covid Pass to cinemas, theatres and concert halls is another way we can strengthen the measures we have in place to keep us all safe," she added.

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"I understand the challenges this sector has faced during the pandemic - this will help keep these businesses open during the difficult autumn and winter months ahead.

"We want to do everything we can to keep Wales open and to keep Wales safe and to give people the confidence to return to these venues."

Wales has seen over 2,000 cases a day for all but two days of the last two weeks of complete data.

The NHS Covid Pass was introduced a month ago for entry to nightclubs and larger indoor and outdoor events despite opposition from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

People can also show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

But those who fake a coronavirus test result or vaccination status will be committing a criminal offence and face a fixed penalty notice.

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"The feedback we have had suggests the system is working well," said health minister Eluned Morgan.

"We will continue to work with the sectors introducing the pass to support them."

Workplaces are required by law to undertake Covid risk assessments, and to put reasonable measures in place to ensure staff safety.

The Welsh Government will use the current enforcement regimes for monitoring compliance.

A premises could be issued with an improvement notice or closure notice, while a fixed penalty notice and a maximum fine for businesses of £10,000 can be issued.