GMB: Miliband clashes with Reid over vaccine passports
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From April 12, pubs will be allowed to reopen outdoors, with marquees being set up around the nation to ensure everyone can have a pint come rain or shine. But in recent comments, Boris Johnson mentioned clientele might need some proof of being vaccinated against coronavirus to visit the pub.
Mr Johnson said pub-goers could be asked to produce a vaccine certificate, and that it “may be up to individual publicans”.
A government source also told the BBC that a negative Covid test to allow entry is also being considered.
The Prime Minister comments come as a government review, led by Michael Gove, is considering whether a vaccine passport could be used to allow visitors entry to venues such as bars, theatres or sports stadiums.
The review is due to report before 21 June, the earliest date by which most Covid restrictions are due to end.
Mr Johnson told MPs: “I do think that the basic concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us because, after all, when you are entrusted with the care of a patient and you’re a surgeon, you’re expected to have a vaccination against hepatitis B.
“The principle is that this is a particularly contagious disease. It can be very nasty indeed.”
On pubs, he said: “I think that that’s the kind of thing that may be up to individual publicans.”
He said he believed in the “huge wisdom in the public’s feeling” about the threat of Covid and that “they want us as their government and me as the prime minister to take all the actions I can to protect them.”
However, Tory MP Steve Baker said it was a “ghastly trap” and unfairly penalised those advised not to have a vaccine.
This news comes as MPs will vote later on Thursday on new coronavirus laws for England’s roadmap out of lockdown.
They will also be asked to approve the government’s plan to renew emergency coronavirus powers for another six months.
The Coronavirus Act was introduced in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
The results of the review are expected to be published in May to coincide with the wider reopening of hospitality in England.
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The review is looking at how people’s vaccination and testing status could be stored securely and displayed on a mobile phone.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jonathan Neame, chief executive of the Shepherd Neame pub chain, said his company would not insist on vaccine certificates.
He said: “The whole essence of a pub is that they are diverse and inclusive environments, where everybody, and families in particular, are extremely welcome.”
He added: “It’s absolutely fine to exclude people where there is a situation of bad behaviour or drunkenness, and that’s already enshrined in law.
“But if you’re going to exclude people for what they are, or what they have not done, that’s a wholly different issue which does touch on discrimination, civil liberties, and in this case data protection issues.”
Peter Marks, from nightclub owner the Deltic Group, said a vaccine certificate “could work” for the sector and would probably be accepted by customers already used to carrying IDs to get into venues.
However, he said he was concerned introducing such a measure could delay the reopening of businesses.
Senior Tory backbencher Mr Baker strongly rejected the suggestion of requiring pub-goers to show proof they had been vaccinated, saying: “First they said we’ll need them to watch the football, and today that it may be papers for the pub.”
He warned such a situation would prevent pregnant women – who have been advised not to take the vaccine – from “taking part in society”.
Downing Street later pointed out that pregnant women are not specifically being advised to avoid having a Covid vaccination but to discuss it with their GP.
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