UKHospitality today warned against the use of a vaccine passport scheme as a condition of removing restrictions.
The trade body has cautioned that a voluntary scheme would create confusion and inequality among businesses, customers and staff and would act as a de-facto open ended delay to the reopening process.
UKH has also opposed the introduction of a mandatory passport scheme that would be unworkable, cause conflict and could be counter to equality rules.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “It is crucial that visiting the pub and other parts of hospitality should not be subject to mandatory vaccination certification. It is simply unworkable, would cause conflict between staff and customers and almost certainty result in breaches of equality rules.
“Even introduced on a voluntary basis, vaccine passports have the potential to cause huge amounts of confusion among businesses, customers and staff. It could potentially give rise to a two-tier system of viability among businesses and a situation in which young staff members, due to be vaccinated last, are able to work in a pub, but not able to visit it socially.”
Ms Nicholls said there is a concern among businesses that the eventual rolling back of restrictions, vital to business survival, may be linked to the use of a vaccine passport scheme.
She insisted that cannot be allowed to happen: “It would put businesses owners in a hugely invidious position and has the potential to effectively impose further unnecessary restrictions on businesses that cannot or will not operate a passport scheme.
“Over the past year our sector has been devastated and businesses have only known forced closure or the most severe restrictions. We need to avoid any further measures that give rise to the potential of further restrictions.
“A vaccine passport system may be useful in opening up international travel more quickly and it might play a role at large-scale events in the near future, but it should not be used for day-to-day hospitality. A vaccine passport scheme in pubs and the wider hospitality sector would not be the liberating move the Prime Minister believes it to be. It would see further restrictions imposed at the worst possible time.”
Ms Nicholls said that pubs and other hospitality businesses have spent a significant amount of time, energy and money ensuring their premises are safe and ready to welcome customers back in April and May.
“We need to throw off the shackles of coronavirus in line with the government’s roadmap; not impose more checks on our ability to socialise and do business.”