Will vaccine certificates be needed to go to the pub?

25 March 2021, 14:43 | Updated: 25 March 2021, 15:01

The Government has not yet decided whether vaccine certificates will be required to go to the pub.
The Government has not yet decided whether vaccine certificates will be required to go to the pub. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has suggested individual pubs could decide for themselves if they only allow vaccinated people in for a drink.

With millions of would-be customers poised to return to their locals in the coming weeks, the government has yet to choose whether coronavirus vaccines will be mandatory for entry.

Although people in their 40s have now joined the nearly-30 million people to receive at least one dose in the UK, it would leave swathes of people unable to pop in for a drink after months away from the bar.

But the idea has invited backlash from some pub groups, having been branded as "unworkable".

How will it work?

The Government is examining whether to introduce Covid vaccination certificates, which would show if its bearer had received a jab.

Pubs could be encouraged to check these as a condition for entry.

It would allow pubs to welcome back customers after fears that drunk people could not socially distance when they were open in periods last year.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters: "I do think there is going to be a role for certification.

Read more: 'Where will it end?' - Nick Ferrari hits out at vaccine passport for pubs

"There are lots of difficult issues because there are some people who for medical reasons can't get a vaccination, pregnant women can't get a vaccination at the moment, you've got to be careful about how you do this.

"You might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccination passport scheme even if you wanted such a thing in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine."

Can you still go to the pub if you haven’t been jabbed?

Reports also suggest pubs could ask for a recent negative Covid test as well as the certificates.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that it "may be up to individual publicans" whether they require customers to have a "Covid vaccination certificate".

Publicans have attacked proposals for them to decide whether to check if customers have been vaccinated.
Publicans have attacked proposals for them to decide whether to check if customers have been vaccinated. Picture: PA

If the PM leaves it to them, he may find few go ahead as chains and trade bodies queued up to criticise the plans.

Clive Watson, the founder of City Pub Group, said the idea of vaccination as a requirement for entry is "absolutely chaotic and discriminatory".

Read more: James O'Brien responds to to caller who asks why supermarkets are open but not pubs

The chief executive of the Shepherd Neame chain, Jonathan Neame, described it as a "fairly poorly thought out idea", while Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young's, branded it "simply unworkable".

The British Beer and Pub Association said the requirement would not be "appropriate or necessary".

Pubs could be allowed to scrap social distancing in exchange for checking customers' vaccination status.
Pubs could be allowed to scrap social distancing in exchange for checking customers' vaccination status. Picture: PA

Will pubs be allowed to scrap social distancing rules if they check customers' certificates at the door?

Requiring customers to prove their vaccination status could benefit pubs.

They may be allowed to drop social distancing, which would allow them to welcome more people through the doors and boost the money they make after a year of uncertainty.

Under that suggestion, pubs that do not want to enforce checks would still be allowed to open but must maintain social distancing.

When do pubs return?

From 12 April at the earliest, hospitality businesses can serve people outdoors with table service only.

Pubs will be allowed to let customers indoors from 17 May at the earliest.