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Night Time Industries Association says Scotland’s new COVID Passport scheme caused “chaos and confusion” this weekend

By | Published on Monday 4 October 2021


The Night Time Industries Association has again criticised the COVID Passport requirements for clubs and other venues that went into force this weekend in Scotland. It claims that poor communications and technical problems with an accompanying app led to “chaos and confusion” at clubs and venues across the country.

While the live music and night-time sectors in England are slowly getting back to normal – with no social distancing requirements and venues able to decide for themselves whether to check the COVID or vaccination status of customers at the door – extra COVID-related rules are still in force elsewhere in the UK.

In Northern Ireland, clubs remain closed and music venues can only operate with seated audiences. Meanwhile, both Scotland and Wales are requiring clubs and some other venues to only admit customers who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which means having to check the COVID Passports that confirm vaccination status at the door.

The app launched in Scotland to provide a digital version of that COVID Passport has been dubbed “not fit for purpose” after the new entry requirements went into effect this weekend. Meanwhile, confused communications about what venues are affected and quite how the new rules are working caused “chaos”.

Criticising the new rules and how they have been implemented, Gavin Stevenson, Vice-Chair of NTIA Scotland, said this weekend: “It is beyond belief that the Scottish government have continued with this flawed, discriminatory and unfair vaccine passport scheme against the advice of the affected sector and a majority of public health experts”.

“Worse still”, he added, “the rush to get it out to political deadlines has resulted in a completely botched launch that is destroying public trust in this government and creating anger and frustration on the streets outside venues. [First Minister] Nicola Sturgeon’s disastrous plan for medical ID’s must be scrapped immediately, and lessons learned as to why other European countries are now scrapping their schemes too”.

Meanwhile, Donald Macleod, MD at Glasgow-based promoter and venue operator Holdfast Entertainment, said: “Sadly and predictably last night’s front door trialing of the Scottish government’s new COVID certification app proved to be problematic and highly confusing, with the vast majority of punters unable to access the app or show the required proof. This is an APP-alling shambles which if allowed to continue will have a devastating effect on the very fragile night-time economy. This ridiculous ‘big brother’ experiment and infringement of an individual’s civil rights should be dropped immediately”.

And the CEO of NTIA UK, Michael Kill, added: “Last night businesses across Scotland felt the real weight of confusion and frustration from members of the public on the first trading session where operators were expected to implement COVID Passports. This ill-conceived, unworkable mitigation – which has been poorly communicated – will only lead to further chaos and potentially irreversible damage to a sector which is still extremely fragile, and is fundamental to the recovery of Scotland’s economy”.