Will I need a vaccine passport to go to the pub? Plans for Covid certificates explained

The government will begin trialling the Covid status certification scheme at several events over the coming months

The government will begin a series of trial events over the coming months with the launch of a ‘Covid status certification’ scheme in England.

The so-called ‘vaccine passport’ is intended to enable the safe return of crowds to mass gatherings and allow indoor events to resume.

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But will the scheme be used in hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants? Here’s what you need to know.

Covid certification will not initially apply for entry to pubs (Photo: Shutterstock)

Will pubs ask for a vaccine passport?

A Covid certification will not be required to enter essential shops and public transport, according to the plans.

It will also not initially apply to businesses which are due to reopen in the coming weeks, including pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail.

Ministers believe the scheme will be most useful in managing the risk where there are large numbers of people in close proximity, such as music festivals, sporting events and nightclubs.

Officials are currently working with clinical and ethical experts to ensure there are “appropriate exemptions” for people who are advised not to get the coronavirus vaccine, or for whom repeat testing would be difficult.

The government has said the ‘vaccine passport’ could involve the use of the NHS app, although ministers acknowledge there will have to be an option for paper certificates for those who do not have access to the digital option.

In developing the scheme, officials will take into account the following three factors:

if an individual has received a Covid-19 vaccine if an individual has recently tested negative for Covid-19 if an individual has “natural immunity” having tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous six months

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who has led the task force responsible for drawing up the plans, acknowledged that the scheme raises “a host of practical and ethical questions” which need to be resolved before there is any wider rollout.

Where will vaccine passports be tested?

The government will begin trialling the Covid status certification scheme at several events over the coming months, including the FA Cup final at Wembley, to gather scientific evidence on how venues can reopen without the need for social distancing.

People attending a range of sporting events, conferences and clubs will be tested both before and after in the next step towards the easing of restrictions in England.

The first trial is due to take place on 16 April at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool, followed two days later by the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on 18 April.

The scheme will also be tested at the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which runs from 17 April to 3 May, and a mass participation run at Hatfield House on 24 and 25 April.

The pilots will culminate with the FA Cup Final, again at Wembley, on 15 May.

People attending the trials will have to adhere to an agreed code of behaviour when they purchase a ticket and to take a Covid test both before and after the event.

They will be required to follow existing government guidance, including wearing face coverings, and to provide contact details of everyone in their group for NHS Test and Trace.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to set out further details on the scheme on Monday (5 April), and said the upcoming trials will play an important role in allowing events to take place in the future.

Mr Johnson said: “We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from Covid-19.

“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.”

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