New Test and Trace rules will force EVERY pub-goer to sign in when venues reopen
New Test and Trace rules forcing every pub-goer in a group to sign in when entering have been blasted by trade bodies.
The rules force all over-16s to check in to the NHS Test and Trace app or give their details to staff before going into pubs, cafés or restaurants when they reopen on April 12.
‘Reasonable steps’ must also be taken by pubs to make sure that people who refuse to hand over their details cannot come in, the Government said.
It marks a change from last year’s rules, which asked only one group member to share their information.
Trade body UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister saying the rule ‘threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses’.
It comes as Boris Johnson said proof of vaccination and having had a test could help provide ‘maximum confidence to businesses and customers in the UK’.
The statement is likely to be viewed as a sign that the Government does intend to proceed with some sort of domestic ‘Covid status certification’.
New Test and Trace rules forcing every pub-goer in a group to sign in when entering have been blasted by trade bodies. The rules force all over-16s to check in to the NHS Test and Trace app (pictured) or give their details to staff before going into pubs, cafés or restaurants when they reopen on April 12
Boris Johnson (pictured today in Middlesbrough) said proof of vaccination and having had a test could help provide ‘maximum confidence to businesses and customers in the UK’
But the trade bodies said demanding details – alongside the potential need for negative tests and proof of vaccination – from customers was ‘a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who have been forcibly closed for months’.
The statement read: ‘It now seems the hospitality industry could be burdened with vaccine passports, and over-complicated test and trace rules.
‘This could prevent millions of young people visiting the pub for months, unless they get themselves tested in advance.’
They added: ‘Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and Covid-secure measures in place.
Pubs and other venues could require customers to show a vaccine passport to gain entry (file image)
‘Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses.’
Their statement comes as England’s Covid outbreak continues to shrink, with the country’s cases dropping by a third in a week and deaths continuing to fall.
Department of Health bosses posted 4,479 lab-confirmed cases today and 51 deaths — down 20 per cent on the same time last week.
Figures also showed more second vaccine doses (404,922) than first shots (241,906) were dished out for the second day in a row.
Earlier today, the PM said during a visit to Middlesbrough that there is ‘definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports’.
Ministers are due to report with their initial findings on the subject on Monday next week but the PM is facing a growing battle to get a scheme passed into law after Sir Keir Starmer suggested needing a passport to go to the pub would be un-British.
The Labour leader hinted that his party could line up alongside Tory rebels to oppose the idea, raising the prospect of Mr Johnson struggling to get legislation through the House of Commons.
One Tory MP said on the potential for the Government to lose a vote on vaccine passports: ‘If Labour are not onside that puts it in a totally different position.’
Another Tory MP warned against rolling out domestic certificates as they said some people may be unable to have a jab and therefore the policy would result in an ‘unfair two-tier system’.
Mr Johnson’s comments on vaccine passports for international travel were welcomed by the Airlines UK trade body.
It said a digital system built on vaccination status and test results ‘will make it easier for customers’ to travel but stressed there is a need for a ‘common international approach’.
Sir Keir Starmer (pictured) said demanding vaccine passports for entering pubs or sporting events would go against the ‘British instinct’
GP surgeries, hospitals and supermarkets are set to be exempt from Covid vaccine passport
Hospitals, GP surgeries and supermarkets could be excluded from any Covid vaccine passport scheme, according to reports, as Boris Johnson prepares to announce more details of on Monday.
Ministers could create a list of ‘essential’ public buildings which could be banned from excluding members of the public who have not had a jab, according to the Times.
It comes as the Government is said to be looking at the idea of Covid status certificates ‘increasingly seriously’.
The certificates will show if a person has been vaccinated, has recently tested negative, or has shown anti-bodies.
Pubs, bars and restaurants have previously been earmarked as businesses which may have to implement a Covid passport system.
That’s despite objections from industry chiefs, as well as GP groups, who warn such a system could be ‘discriminatory’.
Previous reports have suggested NHS workers could also be forced to have Covid jabs under plans being discussed by ministers.
Sir Keir said in an interview with the The Daily Telegraph that demanding certificates to enter pubs or sporting events would go against the ‘British instinct’ and indicated there could be public opposition if Covid death rates are near zero and hospital admissions are very low.
Mr Johnson last week suggested pubs and other venues could require customers to show a vaccine passport – which are likely to feature a combination of vaccine and testing data – to gain entry.
But while the idea has strong support among the public, according to polls, it is opposed by hospitality industry figures and some politicians on economic and civil liberties grounds.
Sir Keir said his ‘instinct’ told him there will be ‘a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road’ as the pandemic comes to an end.
The Labour leader said: ‘My instinct is that, as the vaccine is rolled out, as the number of hospital admissions and deaths go down, there will be a British sense that we don’t actually want to go down this road.’
He continued: ‘I think this is really difficult and I’m not going to pretend there’s a clear black and white, yes-no easy answer on this.
‘It is extremely difficult. My instinct is that… (if) we get the virus properly under control, the death rates are near zero, hospital admissions very, very low, that the British instinct in those circumstances will be against vaccine passports.’
Some Tory MPs, led by the former Cabinet minister David Davis, have expressed serious concerns about the potential use of domestic vaccine passports.
Mr Davis, who has backed using the documents for international travel, said using them to determine entry to pubs or other businesses could be illegal.
Mr Johnson said today: ‘There’s definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports.
‘You can see already that other countries, the aviation industry, are interested in this and there’s a logic to that.
‘I think when it comes to trying to make sure that we give maximum confidence to businesses and customers in the UK, there are three things – there’s immunity whether you have had it before so you have natural antibodies, whether you have been vaccinated, and of course whether you have had a test.’
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he had been in discussions with the UK Government about a vaccine passport scheme.
He said: ‘There are positive prizes to be won from having a successful vaccine certification scheme but there are many practical and ethical issues that will need to be addressed and resolved successfully if those positive opportunities can be won from it.’
An Airlines UK spokesman said: ‘A proper integrated digital solution that can verify travellers’ data across borders, be it testing results or vaccination status, will make it easier for customers and remove further complexity to the passenger journey, therefore making travel more attractive.
‘The PM’s words are therefore extremely welcome as is the commitment of the UK Government to work with the EU and through the G7 to agree a common international approach to passports, that can satisfy concerns around data and privacy whilst being recognised in as many countries as possible around the world.’
It raises the prospect of Mr Johnson (pictured today) struggling to get any legislation on the issue through the Commons, if enough Tory backbenchers rebel in addition to Labour opposition.
More than three-quarters of Britons say they support vaccine passports for foreign travel
The British public overwhelmingly back the use of vaccine passports for trips to the pub, according to a new survey.
Almost eight in 10 people (78 per cent) polled by Ipsos MORI supported people having to show proof of having had a coronavirus vaccine to travel abroad or visit people in care homes.
And there was strong backing for them to be required to work as a frontline NHS medic or in a care home (79 per cent) as well as in schools (69 per cent).
It comes amid a backlash against rumoured Government plans to force care home staff to get the jab amid lower than expected take-up.
Controversially there is also strong support for using the documents to determine whether people can enter a pub or restaurant once the hospitality industry reopens.
There has been loud condemnation of the idea from the industry and politicians on economic and civil liberties grounds.
But Ipsos MORI found 62 per cent of Britons would back their introduction for people wanting to go for a pint or a meal with their family and 63 per cent want them to be used for people going to the gym.
There has been a fevered debate over whether vaccine passports should become part of normal day-to-day life.
Pub bosses across Britain have said the idea was ‘absurd’ and ‘unworkable’ and signalled they would not ask customers for proof that they had been inoculated or were clear of coronavirus.
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told MailOnline he was ‘not comfortable’ with the idea of Covid passports being used within the UK.
He said: ‘The cost of it, it probably won’t work very well… you’ve got differences between those who can’t have the vaccines, pregnant women. It wouldn’t be fair to have a two-tier system.’
Despite the opposition in some quarters, the British public appears to be in favour of the move, believing the economic benefits would outweigh any infringement on privacy.
Ipsos Mori yesterday revealed that 62 per cent of Britons would back their introduction for people wanting to go for a pint or a meal with their family and 63 per cent want them to be used for people going to the gym.
Almost eight in 10 people (78 per cent) polled supported people having to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine to travel abroad or visit people in care homes.
And there was strong backing for them to be required to work as a frontline NHS medic or in a care home (79 per cent) as well as in schools (69 per cent).
Sir Ed Davey became the latest party leader to oppose the passports today. He used a Daily Telegraph column to say they ‘are illiberal, unworkable and would be utterly ineffective in keeping people safe from Covid’.
Mr Johnson has previously said that he acknowledges the ‘moral complexities’ around bringing in a domestic vaccine passport scheme.
A Whitehall source said one possibility being considered is that landlords may be able to scrap social distancing if they check Covid health certificates on entry.
The move would allow them to operate at much higher capacity and could be a strong incentive for them to participate in the scheme.
However, Sir Keir raised concerns around the suggestion that landlords could be allowed to decide for themselves,.
Customers during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme last August in Manchester
Two-thirds of global disease experts believe coronavirus variants will make current vaccines ineffective within ONE YEAR
Two-thirds of disease experts believe coronavirus variants will render vaccines ineffective within one year, a new survey has found.
Conducted by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, about 66 percent of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists said they think that within 12 months the virus will mutate to such a degree that first-generation vaccines will be useless at preventing infection.
Of that group, nearly one-fifth believe it would occur within six months and one-third said within nine months.
Fewer than one in eight doctors said they believed that mutations would never make the vaccines currently available ineffective.
Wetherspoon boss says vaccine passports would be ‘the last straw’ for pubs
Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has said vaccine passports would be ‘the last straw’ for struggling pubs and force bar staff into a ‘bitter civil liberties war’ with customers.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Martin said ‘there is no justification for a passport system’.
The chairman of the pub chain said: ‘For many pubs, hanging on for dear life and devastated by G-force changes of direction, a complex and controversial passport scheme would be the last straw.
‘It would inevitably put pub staff in the frontline of a bitter civil liberties war, with some customers unwilling to be vaccinated or unable to have a jab for medical reasons.’
He said: ‘I think this idea that we sort of outsource this to individual landlords is just wrong in principle.’
Asked if he feels uncomfortable with the new Covid laws introduced, he explained that current restrictions should not be in place for longer than they are necessary.
‘If that was a long-term proposition I’d be very, very worried about it and I would be fighting it tooth and nail,’ he said.
‘Nobody wants these restrictions, nobody enjoys living under these restrictions, and they shouldn’t be in place for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary.’
Yesterday, hospitality and retail bosses warned that demanding vaccine passports for customers entering venues could pose legal issues and put staff in danger.
Speaking as part of a webinar hosted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: ‘This is quite a challenging issue for a lot of people to wrestle with.
‘If you are in a consumer environment, you have legal concerns regarding age, ethnicity, gender, and I don’t think considering a valid test alongside a vaccine certificate is enough.
‘From a consumer position, you will also have issues regarding frontline staff having to enforce the law about this.’
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, echoed these concerns and said that violence against shop workers had already increased sharply during the pandemic due to the enforcement of other restrictions.
‘We’re seeing, with mask-wearing particularly and other enforcement issues, that the levels of violence and abuse against people on the front line – be that delivery driver, supermarket or convenience shop worker – there were about 400 incidents a day pre-Covid but they say that has gone up really significantly.
‘The paradigm has moved over the past few months as people have become more frustrated over the rules.’
But Ms Nicholls said she believes international travel and major events were the ‘two areas where certification could really work’.
She also said she hoped social distancing restrictions could be fully removed by the June 21 road map date without the need for vaccine certification.
‘The Government appears to be linking certifications and the removal of social distancing – the price is too high to say it can only be removed with certificates in place,’ she said.
‘The Prime Minister has said they want to remove everything by June 21 and people see this as ‘life back to normal’.
‘From businesses’ point of view, there are a lot of people who have heard they can trade as normal by June 21, but if there is any conditionality or controls here they need to say so soon.
‘And then the Chancellor needs to go back as the Budget commitments won’t be sufficient in their current plans.’
Tory backbenchers, publicans and some scientists have raised concerns over the possible introduction of coronavirus health certificates as England’s lockdown is eased.
Ministers are studying their potential use, which could see access to venues granted only if customers have been jabbed, received negative tests, or developed antibodies through past infection.
Just 38% of Britain’s restaurants and pubs have outdoor space needed to reopen on April 12 – as South East fares best with just over half of venues able to serve al-fresco food and drink
The South West of Britain leads the ranks in terms of pubs that have outdoor space, with 91.7% falling into that category, followed by the South & South East on 74.8%
More than half of Britain’s pubs and restaurants will be forced to remain closed when lockdown restrictions ease because they do not have outdoor space.
Under the next relaxation of coronavirus rules, a swathe of freedoms will be restored on April 12 under the current timetable.
This includes a long-awaited reopening for pubs and restaurants in England, which will be able to serve customers in alfresco seating areas.
But despite being given the green light to open, hospitality venues across the country will still be locked after April 12 because just 41,100, or 38.2 per cent, have outdoor space, according to overall data.
Only 33.1 per cent of operators in London have space they can use outside and only 22.9 per cent of venues in Scotland – which will see sites reopen from April 26 – have outdoor areas.
Breaking the data further down, by region and type of venue, shows stark differences in each region’s proliferation of open-spaced venues.
The South West of Britain leads the ranks in terms of pubs that have outdoor space, with 91.7% falling into that category, followed by the South & South East on 74.8%.
Scotland was the region with the lowest percentage, with less than half – 44.9% – of pubs able to host customers outside.
Overall data: More than 41,000 pubs, bars and restaurants have some kind of outdoor space which could allow them to reopen on April 12. The South West leads the way, with 51.1 per cent of venues boasting outdoor areas
These differences are also present in the figures for restaurants. The East of Britain boasts the highest percentage of restaurants with outdoor spaces – 31.2% – and the South West again holds a prominent position, in second place with 30.6%.
The figure is in the high twenties for much of the rest of England – including Lancashire, London, the North East and Yorkshire – but Scotland and Wales remain in single figures.
Just 8.5% of restaurants in Wales have outside spaces, and only 5.1% in Scotland.
The data comes amid bleak figures which show the number of licensed premises over the past year fell by some 7,592 to 107,516, laying bare the devastating toll of the pandemic.
From April 12, diners will be able to meet in a group of up to six people from different households, while a maximum of two households can meet to form a group of any size. Indoor dining will only be allowed after May 17.
The latest monthly Market Recovery Monitor by CGA and AlixPartners has revealed that 38.2 per cent of licensed premises in the UK say they have space to allow them to trade.
Firms have said they will plan to utilise gardens, terraces, car parks and other areas where they can potentially seat guests to reopen when outdoor hospitality is given the go-ahead in the next phase of the Prime Minister’s road map.
More than 41,000 pubs, bars and restaurants have some kind of outdoor space which could allow them to reopen on April 12.
However, the proportion of operators able to operate outside fluctuates significantly depending on their specific area of the hospitality market.
More than 80 per cent of community pubs have said they have appropriate outdoor space to reopen.
However, only 11.9 per cent of casual dining restaurants have such space, meaning further pain for many chains which have been hit hard in the past 12 months.
The report also said that a significant number of sites with outdoor space will still be unlikely to trade from mid-April because of limitations to their space and the cost of equipping or staffing them being unprofitable.
It highlighted that punters in the south-west of England will be best placed come April 12, with 51.1 per cent of premises in the area having outdoor space.
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