The Scottish Government is still to define what a nightclub is, less than twenty days before the introduction of a vaccine passport scheme.
Revellers would need to show door staff proof they had been double vaccinated against Covid before being allowed entry, but confusion remains over what constitutes a club and what does not.
The scheme is set to be introduced on October 1.
Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney admitted it was still a “grey area” and that the Scottish Government was working with the industry to provide a definition.
The Scottish Conservatives branded the lack of clarity as “ridiculous” and questioned how much personal information would be on display as those heading out showed proof of inoculation.
The Lib Dems claimed experts quoted by the Scottish Government in favour of the passport scheme had actually come out against it, including TRNSMT organiser Geoff Ellis.
Vaccines for younger children
The announcement follows recommendations from the UK chief medical officers and advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on inoculating younger people and will run concurrently with booster vaccines for the country’s more vulnerable.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed the Scottish Government had decided not to re-introduce restrictions “at this time”.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, she announced:
- Health workers will be able to book their boosters from September 20, along with care home residents and those in receipt of regular flu jabs, while those over 70 or at high risk will be contacted by their GP soon.
- Other groups, including all adults over 50, those with underlying conditions, adult carers, unpaid and young carers or those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will be able to book a jag online from October.
- Children aged between 12 and 15 will also be offered a single dose of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine in Scotland from next week.
Ahead of the first minister’s statement, deputy first minister John Swinney insisted vaccine passports — which are planned for roll-out on October 1 — would not harvest data.
When asked about whether personal information like address, date of birth and other information protected by data protection rules would be displayed on vaccine passports, Mr Swinney said: “There is no harvesting of data involved.
“The scheme involves a simple check of information that is contained in a QR
code to verify that somebody has been double vaccinated, in order to keep us all safe.”
He added personal information would not be visible, other than verification the holder had been double-vaccinated.
On the delays to defining what a nightclub was or was not, Mr Swinney said: “On the definition of nightclubs, the Scottish is working with the Night Time Industries Association to be certain about the details of that definition.
“We are working through individual questions with the association to ensure
that we address any possible unintended consequences of the definition.
“We will publish that when we come to the conclusion of that exercise.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson said: “It has been almost two weeks since the First Minister announced the plan for vaccination certification, but, yesterday, the health secretary again said that the Government is still working on the definition of a nightclub.
“Does the Deputy First Minister see how ridiculous it is that the scheme
will come into force in a matter of weeks yet the Government still cannot provide any clarity on key questions surrounding its implementation?”
PM will not rule out scheme
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed he could not “rule out completely” the possibility of imposing mandatory vaccine passports in England.
The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference: “We do not see the need now to proceed, for instance, with mandatory certification.
“It’s just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option now when we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping business open at full capacity or not.”
The prime minister said he would not want to see the scheme introduced for pubs and restaurants, but added: “I do think that there are settings, as we put it – nightclubs, large music venues and so on, venues with big, closely-packed crowds – where they might be appropriate.
“As we all know, some events have been using them over the summer, very effectively, to get going. I think it would be sensible for a Government not to rule that out.”
Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton called on the Scottish Government to scrap the scheme.
He said: “Last week the First Minister leant into the words of Professor Stephen Reicher to justify her Covid ID scheme but he’s actually against it.
“She implied events industry leader, Geoff Ellis supported them too. He does not. In fact he told me today: ‘Passporting creates many problems for the Scottish economy.’
“I am prepared to support a drive to encourage young people to get the vaccine, but that is different to saying you are going to exclude them if they don’t.
“The First Minister is running out of experts to quote. It is time she listened to Stephen Reicher, Geoff Ellis and the Scottish Liberal Democrats and dropped Covid ID cards.”