Vaccine passports 'decimating' Scottish nightlife

pub & bar

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Vaccine passports 'decimating' Scottish nightlife

Related tags: Vaccine passport, Scotland, Night time economy

New data from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) reveal that trading levels for Scotland's night-time economy have been decimated in the first week of the country's ‘vaccine passport’ scheme.

According to the research, nightclub trade levels have dropped by almost half (46%), with some reporting declines in excess of 60% compared to previous weeks.

The 46% decline in trade for nightclubs would represent lost income of £506,000 per year per venue on average if the scheme continues, the NTIA claims.

The survey also found that 90% of pubs and bars with late night entertainment offerings have felt forced to remove themselves from the scope of the scheme by implementing measures such as decommissioning dance floors, reducing opening hours, or cancelling live entertainment.

Any night-time economy businesses in Scotland the scheme that are open between midnight and 5am, serve alcohol after midnight, plays live or recorded music for dancing, and has a designated space for dancing that is in use are subject to the scheme.

All four conditions must be met for a venue to be required to check Covid vaccine certificates

Trade in pubs and bars also dropped by one quarter (24%), representing lost income of £180,000 on average.

The NTIA adds that the impact on Scotland’s cultural scene is escalating rapidly, with numerous performances and booked shows now being cancelled due to the severe impact of reduced attendance following the introduction of so-called 'vaccine passports'.

Commenting on the survey, Gavin Stevenson, spokesman for NTIA Scotland, said: “It is utterly bewildering that the Scottish Government has completely ignored the warnings from sectoral experts as to the dire consequences of this scheme.

"It has taken just one week for our concerns around market distortion, unfair competition, discrimination, and the severe economic impact to be proven true, while the huge reduction in Covid-19 cases that happened well before the scheme came into effect demonstrates that the scheme is simply not necessary to reduce cases.

"We’re calling on the Scottish Government to scrap this flawed scheme and work with our sector to explore alternatives that are workable and allow businesses to remain viable.”

The NTIA's calls follow those of the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), which described the first weekend of mandatory Covid vaccine certificate enforcement as 'an unmitigated disaster'​ earlier this week, with footfall falling by up to 40% and staff facing abuse.

Under the rules, vaccine certificates are required in Scotland for nightclubs; unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in the audience; unseated outdoor live events with more than 4,000 people in the audience; and any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.

Fully-vaccinated customers are able to download their 'vaccine passport' using an NHS Covid status app, with venues subject to the scheme able to download a free QR code verifier app.

Related topics: Trends & Reports, Pub & Bar

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