James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Welsh Covid pass needed for nightclubs and large events from Monday
11 October 2021, 00:01
People must show an NHS Covid Pass or demonstrate their vaccination status to enter nightclubs and attend large events in Wales from Monday.
It means all over-18s need one to enter nightclubs, indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people and any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.
People will also be able to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.
"The Covid Pass is just one of a series of measures in place to help prevent people spreading and catching coronavirus while helping to keep the economy open," said economy minister Vaughan Gething.
"None of us want to see further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again.
"Showing a Covid Pass is already part of our collective effort to keep businesses open, with some major events, such as the successful Green Man Festival, using it.
"Together, if we all continue to follow the clear guidelines we're all used to by now, we'll be doing everything we can to keep Wales safe."
The legislation was passed in the Senedd last week despite opposition from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.
Only people attending the events or venues that meet the criteria will need to show their Covid status, with staff working or volunteering at them encouraged to take lateral flow tests twice a week to check they do not have the virus.
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.
Conservative health spokesman Russell George accused the Welsh Government of a U-turn, having previously ruled out introducing Covid passes.
"I just do not think that we should become a checkpoint society by introducing a vaccine passport," Mr George said in the Senedd last week.
Plaid health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said his party was not against the principle of Covid passes but took issue with the proposals in their current form, including the use of lateral flow tests.
"We've asked many questions and haven't been given assurances that we have sought, and it is for that reason that we feel unable to support these regulations," he said.
Wales is facing some of the highest infection rates since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly among young people.
Plans for similar vaccine passport plans in England were scrapped, although they could be reintroduced if the government decides to implement 'Plan B' of its winter plan.
Under 'Plan A' the vaccine programme and the newly announced booster rollout will be the government's main tool to combat the virus this winter.
However, if cases rise substantially and the NHS begins to become overwhelmed, vaccine passports could be introduced as well as renewed working from home advice and instructions to wear face masks in certain settings.