COVID-19: Scotland to require vaccine passports for nightclubs and large events, Nicola Sturgeon says

Vaccine passports will be needed for entry to nightclubs and large-scale events in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The first minister told MSPs that the “limited use of vaccine certification” from later this month could help control the spread of COVID-19 through autumn and winter.

Numbers of new infections are 80% higher than last week and five times higher than four weeks ago, she said, describing the situation as “extremely concerning”.

Rising hospital admissions also make the situation “fragile and serious”, she added.

The new rules – if approved by parliament in a vote next week – will cover indoor live events with more than 500 unseated people, outdoor live events with more than 4,000 unseated, and any event with over 10,000 attendees.

Ms Sturgeon said that while activities covered by the scheme “matter to our economy, and to our cultural and social life”, they are “not essential services” and bring “many people together in relatively small areas”.

“By ensuring that people entering these settings are fully vaccinated, we would be taking a proportionate step to help make these settings safer for everyone attending and, by extension, for all of us,” she said.

Time was key, she added: “For any decision of this nature to have an impact before winter, we would have to take and implement it quickly.”

Vaccine passports are not being considered for the hospitality industry as a whole, and children and adults with certain medical conditions will be exempt.

From Friday, people in Scotland will be able to download a QR code showing their vaccine status.

Ms Sturgeon told parliament: “The Scottish government has made it clear that we do not believe that vaccination certification should ever be a requirement for any key services or in settings where people have no choice over attendance – for example, public transport, education, access to medical services or shops. We continue to hold to that position.”

In England, there are plans to bring in vaccine passports to enter nightclubs and other “crowded venues” from the end of September.

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