The Scottish Government’s plans to implement a vaccine passport scheme for large events should be delayed despite a court rejecting such attempts, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has said.
The certification initiative will require people at large events and nightclubs to show proof using a Scottish Government app that they have been vaccinated before they are allowed in.
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday there would be a grace period up to October 18 where businesses would not face punishment for not checking certification.
With the scheme less than 24 hours away from coming into effect, Lord Burns ruled against the Night Time Industries Association Scotland in its attempt to delay the move.
But Mr Ross urged the First Minister to postpone the implementation of the initiative, which he said had been “left to the last minute”.
The Tory leader pointed to the fact that, as of noon on Thursday, the app for showing certification had not been released and the Covid-19 Recovery Committee had only seen the evidence behind the scheme on Thursday morning.
“This isn’t the way to run any scheme, let alone one that will affect people right across Scotland,” he said at First Minister’s Questions.
“The First Minister and I disagree about this policy – my party want it scrapped – but surely she must accept that the scheme is not ready and must be delayed.”
But the First Minister refused to delay the implementation, due for 5am on Friday, citing Lord Burns’ judgment which said the scheme was “balanced”.
“All along, I’ve been very candid and clear – none of us want to be in this position, none of us want to be having to take any of the steps we’ve had to take over 18 months now to seek to contain a virus, keep people safe and try to limit the health and other damage that this virus does,” the First Minister said.
“This is a targeted and proportionate way to try to reduce the harm that the virus can do over the winter months while keeping our economy fully open, fully functional and fully trading.
“The judgment from court this morning recognises both those reasons and the way in which the government has gone about this.”
The First Minister went on to say the Tory leader had repeatedly opposed government restrictions on Covid-19, adding: “If I’d listened to Douglas Ross, we probably wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now, thankfully, of having cases on a downward path.
“So perhaps it’s Douglas Ross that needs to reflect a bit more on some of the arguments he makes in this chamber.”
“If the First Minister listened to those of us on these benches, she wouldn’t be introducing a scheme from 5am tomorrow that sees hundreds of people get their vaccine passport checked as they go into a venue, but the music gets unplugged and suddenly they don’t need a vaccine passport at all,” the Tory leader replied.
“And if she had listened to these benches she wouldn’t be introducing a scheme from 5am tomorrow that can’t be enforced for more than a fortnight.”