Scottish authorities begin legally enforcing Covid passports for clubs and large events

18 October 2021, 00:02 | Updated: 18 October 2021, 00:06

Scottish authorities will be ensuring businesses comply with the vaccine mandate.
Scottish authorities will be ensuring businesses comply with the vaccine mandate. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Legal enforcement of Scotland's controversial Covid vaccine mandate for those entering nightclubs and large events comes into effect from Monday.

The Scottish government has made proof of a double jab mandatory to enter nightclubs and large events in its bid to curb the spread of coronavirus and encourage more people to get the vaccine.

Unlike many other vaccine passport schemes, there is no option under the Scottish system to show proof of a negative test or recent recovery from Covid-19.

The measures technically came into effect at the beginning of October, however businesses were given an 18-day grace period following backlash and significant problems with the government's new app.

The introduction of vaccine passports has been controversial, with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross telling the First Minister that the plans to introduce it should be delayed.

The policy - which requires people to be double jabbed - will now be enforceable for night clubs, strip clubs and unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with over 4,000 and any event with more than 10,000 people.

Read more: 'Our hearts are shattered': Family of MP Sir David Amess release emotional tribute

Read more: Terror suspect quizzed over killing of MP named as Ali Harbi Ali

Local councils will be responsible for ensuring venues and businesses are checking the vaccine status of guests.

People can either show a paper copy of their vaccine certificate or a QR code on the new app, which has been plagued with issues since it launched.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "The grace period allowed venues and businesses affected more than two weeks to test the scheme in practice and make suitable arrangements.

"It has also provided the government with helpful feedback from the sectors affected and we continue to liaise with them going forward.

"This is a very limited scheme and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.

"This virus has not gone away and vaccine certification will have a role to play in keeping transmission under control as part of a wider package of measures.

"It adds a further layer of protection in certain higher-risk settings.

"I also want to ensure that as many people get vaccinated as possible and particularly to increase uptake in the younger age cohort, so anything to incentivise that is helpful."

Read more: Sir David Amess: Suspect's father 'is ex-adviser to Somali prime minister'

The Scottish government has been criticised over its new app, which has suffered a number of technical issues since its launch.

Many users who downloaded the app, which confirms a person's vaccination status, complained of issues verifying their identity.

There have been calls for the Covid passport scheme to be delayed due to the technical problems, which emerged after the app was released on September 30.

Scottish Labour's health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: "The shambles that followed the release of the vaccine passport app was a predictable disaster.

"Weeks have passed and we have seen no change of plans despite concerns from the public, public health experts and businesses.

"This whole debacle has happened because the SNP are arrogant enough to believe they are right and Scotland is wrong.

"The First Minister is making this up as she goes along.

"If we want to control the virus we must look at proper resourcing of our test and protect system which has collapsed in recent weeks.

"If we want to drive up vaccination we should be going door-to-door to convince those we know are hesitant and making it easier to just walk in for an appointment.

"Instead the Government is doubling down on this mess."