Vaccine Passports for Pubs Back on the Table in Britain: Report

TOPSHOT - Demonstrators take part in an anti-lockdown, anti-Covid-19 vaccination passports, 'Unite for Freedom' protest in central London on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson’s government has reportedly put the idea of using coronavirus passports in pubs back on the table should cases of the virus spike later this year.

While the government has seemingly backed away from the idea of using vaccine passports for restaurants, pubs, and other indoor public meeting spaces, the plan is said to have gained steam as an alternative to shutting down the businesses again during the winter months.

“The reason we are trialling Covid certification this summer is partly to get mass events open more safely with bigger crowds, but also partly to get people used to the idea,” a Whitehall source told the Daily Mail.

“We hope that with high vaccination rates we will be in a very different position this winter. But if we do find ourselves in a dire situation then certification could be a tool in our armoury to keeps things open that might otherwise have to close,” the source added.

An update to the government’s NHS app has included a feature that will allow people in England to show their vaccination status for international travel. However, the app is also set to be trialled as a domestic health pass for large-scale events such as the upcoming Wimbledon tennis tournament.

The review into ‘Covid certification’ being carried out by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove is also reportedly looking into the prospect of extending the use of the vaccine passport for business such as pubs, theatres, and restaurants should cases of the virus spike as the weather turns colder. This is despite Gove previously flatly denying that the government would push such a system domestically.

The civil liberties pressure group Big Brother Watch said: “Covid Passes are unnecessary, discriminatory [and] will create a two-tier society. They have no scientific basis & the government’s decision to launch them without telling MPs show a real contempt for democracy.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted that lockdowns might come back in the winter months should the virus place heavy strains on the nation’s socialised healthcare system.

“You can never exclude that there will be some new disease, some new horror that we simply haven’t budgeted for or accounted for,” he said, adding that he expects there to be a “rough winter for all sorts of reasons.”.

As of late, Mr Johnson has downplayed the idea of a domestic vaccine passport, yet he has left the door open to such a plan, saying in April that they are likely to become a “feature of our lives”.

There has been widespread opposition to the use of vaccine passports domestically, with business leaderschurch leaders, and politicians from the Conservative and Labour Party coming out against the scheme.

Government ministers are said to believe that any opposition to the move in the Parliament would be able to be quashed with a threat of reimposing lockdown restrictions as the only alternative.

Meanwhile, the government is also expected to introduce a trial run of a vaccine passport system that would see travellers who have had two doses of a coronavirus jab to be able to avoid quarantine restrictions upon their return to the UK.

In an interview in March with Breitbart London, the CEO of the American privacy firm DeleteMe, Rob Shavel, warned that the introduction of vaccine passports could lead to “algorithmic discrimination” against people who have not taken the jab.

“Decisions are being made without our knowledge just because it was easy to sort and categories us as late to the vaccine, early to the vaccine, non-vaccinated… all of this information becomes easy to compare and sort against,” Shavel said.

The privacy expert warned that vax pass info would be funnelled into a “centralised profile about you that is literally available to anybody who wants to spend five or ten dollars to download it”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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