UK Govt Says Vaccine Certificates Will Be ‘Feature of Our Lives’, Passport for Pints Still on the Table

Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson wearing a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic visits BAE Systems at Warton Aerodrome in Preston, northwest England, on March 22, 2021. - The prime minister's visit comes to mark the publication of the UK government's Integrated Review, an overhaul of Britain's security, defence and …
CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The British government has claimed that immunity certificates will be a “feature of our lives” until the threat of Chinese coronavirus has passed and admitted that vaccine passports may still be required to go to pubs and restaurants in the future.

On Monday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation that the country was on track for its phased reopening, but played down the controversial proposal for vaccine passports for domestic use, discussions of which had been widely leaked to the press in recent weeks.

Outdoor hospitality venues will be reopening on Monday, April 12th. Following reports that Johnson had backed down on planned vaccine passports for pubs and restaurants to prevent a party rebellion, he told the nation last night: “There is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification, or covid status report, when they go to the shops or to the pub garden, or to the hairdressers or whatever on Monday.

He continued that the government was “not planning that for stage three either”, when indoor hospitality opens on May 17th, and “we’re not planning for anything like that, at that stage.”

However, that does leave the door open for covid certification for pubs and restaurants at ‘stage four’, with the government’s updated Roadmap Review released last night admitting: “It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings.”

The document continued that “the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts.

“For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3.”

As reported last weekend, the covid certification app is said to be months away from being ready, possibly until the Autumn.

Further, the government document claimed that “COVID-status certification is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes”.

The Roadmap Review also said that banning businesses from demanding immunity passports from customers would be “an unjustified intrusion on how businesses choose to make their premises safe”, so “long as they are compliant with equalities legislation”. It added that there would “be exceptions where the Government needs to intervene to ensure equitable access to essential services”.

In appearing to justify the government possibly opening Pandora’s Box on domestic immunity IDs, the Review added: “It is therefore right that the Government provides a means of easily demonstrating COVID-status, in order to ensure UK citizens and residents are not denied opportunities to travel or attend certain venues or events.”

It is now clear vaccine passports to do simple things like go to the pub or eat a meal out have been merely delayed, not defeated.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today and Sky News on Tuesday, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi would not rule out vaccine passports for hospitality beyond June 21st, when all restrictions are supposed to be lifted — despite the prime minister saying on Monday that the Summer would see an “irreversible” return to normalcy.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who is heading the review on vaccine certification, has allegedly privately promised MPs a vote on the measures if Johnson gives them the go-ahead. Around 41 Tories have already voiced their descent on the matter, but it would take an estimated 60 Conservative MPs and all opposition parties to stop the bill in the House of Commons; however, Labour has so far not settled its position on the scheme.

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