Critics slam proposal to require vaccine passports in nightclubs

Critics in the U.K. denounced a proposal to make Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine passports mandatory in pubs and nightclubs. Members of Parliament (MPs) and civil leaders slammed the measure announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 19. Conservative (Tory) MPs meanwhile vowed to fight Johnson’s “disgusting” proposal in parliament.

Johnson said in a July 19 press conference that “some of life’s more important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.” He continued: “There are already countries that require you to be double-jabbed as a condition of quarantine-free travel, and that list seems likely to grow. [We] are also concerned – as they are in other countries – by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs.”

“I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all [Britons over 18 years old] will have had the chance to [get both vaccine doses], [that] we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative [COVID-19] test will no longer be sufficient,” the prime minister said.

Johnson added that while he did not want to see COVID-19 vaccine passports to be used in pubs and nightclubs, he said they might be necessary “to protect the public.” He elaborated: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again – as they have elsewhere – but it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing and make use of the NHS Covid Pass.”

The prime minister’s remarks contradicted prior statements by State Undersecretary for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi. During an appearance at the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show in early 2021, Zahawi said that the U.K. would not introduce vaccine passports due to their discriminatory nature. “That’s not how we do things. We do them by consent,” he explained.

Zahawi later said that the plans to make COVID-19 vaccine passports mandatory would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. He added that people with medical conditions would be exempted from the measure. Meanwhile, more than 40 MPs have vowed to oppose moves to require COVID-19 vaccine passports for some venues. (Related: Medical police state: British government to require covid vaccines everywhere, and for any job.)

Business owners and government officials speak out against the proposal

Nightclub owners slammed Johnson’s proposal to mandate COVID-19 vaccine passports, calling it a “chaotic U-turn” and a “bad idea.” They also dubbed the flip-flop messaging from other British ministers as “absolute shambles.”

Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill said that 80 percent of nightclubs have expressed refusal to make use of COVID-19 vaccine passports. They cited difficulties in enforcing the system and a reduction in spontaneous customers. “The [British] government’s own report into vaccine passports found [that] they were more trouble than they’re worth,” he said. (Related: UK citizens may have to present a vaccine passport before entering pubs and restaurants.)

REKOM UK CEO Peter Marks meanwhile warned: “Mandatory [COVID-19 vaccine] passports may make sense one day once the entire adult population has been offered vaccines. [But] does [the British] government really think this threat will entice the ‘vaccine-wary’ to take the vaccine?”

Alistair Ritchie, owner of the Astoria nightclub in Portsmouth, dubbed Johnson’s announcement as “unfair” on both clubs and society. “It will have a massive impact. If so many of your friends don’t have a vaccine passport, you just won’t go out.”

Ritchie also lamented the restrictions imposed on nightclubs since the pandemic began. “It is so frustrating. It feels like there’s a constant flurry of obstacles over the last year, it’s been one flaming hoop to jump through after another,” he said.

Former U.K. Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption expressed his disagreement with Johnson’s vaccine passport proposal. The retired magistrate told BBC Radio 4: I don’t think vaccine passports imposed by the state are a good idea now. [At] the moment, with 70 percent [of Britons] having had both jabs – including all vulnerable groups – I think it is completely unnecessary.”

Two Tory MPs also voiced their criticism over the proposed measure. Broxbourne MP Charles Walker said he will vote against the plan if it comes to the House of Commons. Walker warned during an appearance at the BBC Radio 4 program World at One: “It will start with nightclubs, and then quickly move on to other parts of the hospitality sector.”

Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper also slammed the plan. Harper, the former Chief Whip at the House of Commons, said Johnson’s proposal was “effectively moving to compulsory vaccination.” has more news about the U.K.’s plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccine passports in pubs, nightclubs and other establishments.

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