First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that it would not be proportionate at this time to go ahead with the plan to extend the scheme to cinemas, theatres, and hospitality premises.
She also said the current vaccine passport scheme, which applies to nightclubs and large venues, will remain for at least the next three weeks, but evidence of a negative lateral flow test will be accepted from Dec. 6 as well as evidence of vaccination.
Negative test results were previously excluded in order to boost the uptake of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccines, but an evidence paper published on Friday said the scheme had made little difference on that front. The paper also included feedback from businesses, which reported challenges including dropped off footfall and increased cost associated with the implementation of the scheme.
Addressing Parliament on Tuesday, Sturgeon told MSPs that the decision was “very finely balanced.”
“We have taken account of the fact that—although our situation is precarious—cases are currently stable and indeed slightly declining,” she said.
“And we have considered the inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the operation of businesses and concluded that, at this stage, extension would not be proportionate.”
But the first minister urged people to take a test before “any occasion that you are socialising with others, whether that is going out for drinks or dinner, visiting someone at home, or even going shopping somewhere that might be crowded,” and self-isolate if the result is positive.
Leon Thompson, executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, told NTD that it’s “very welcomed news” that vaccine passports won’t be extended to more settings after the industry “had been bracing themselves for the worst.”
“So the fact that the Scottish government has listened to hospitality, and has responded by not extending the scheme is very welcome and gives real respite to businesses which are still in quite a fragile state at the moment,” he said.
Thompson said late night pubs that are required to check vaccine passports had been reporting “significant falls in trade” after the scheme was implemented, with some premises losing 60 percent of their businesses.
He added that accepting negative test results “may be beneficial,” but the industry ultimately wants to see the scheme scrapped.
“We have a lot of businesses that are still labouring under a scheme that would appear to be delivering nothing that the Scottish government is striving for,” Thompson said.
Last week, Jamie Jenkins, former head of health analysis and labour market analysis at the Office for National Statistics, told NTD that he saw “very little evidence” that shows the COVID passes are “having any effect at all.”
Jane Werrell from NTD contributed to this report.