Covid Scotland: Vaccine passports are likely to be extended for three weeks before Christmas

Theaters, cinemas and other licensed facilities are likely to require clients to provide evidence of vaccination 6. from December in order to curb the growing number of Covid cases in Scotland.

Evidence from a recent lateral flow test is likely to be introduced as an alternative to a complete vaccine.

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However, the companies were granted a one-week postponement after Sturgeon said a final decision on whether to introduce stricter relief would not be made until next week.

Companies have warned that extending vaccine passports could lead to a serious financial situation for one in four Scottish companies.

The announcement came after the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) had warned one in four companies to face “imminent financial danger” if the restrictions continue.

Following the first minister’s statement, the organization considered the delay in change “good news” but warned that a future expansion of the scheme would cause “harm” to Scottish businesses.

Dr Liz Cameron, CEO of SCC, said: “Although no changes have been made today, companies remain concerned and uncertain about the potential impact of future decisions.

“If restrictions are reintroduced or continued, companies will suffer financially, resulting in job losses and loss of trade.

“This would be particularly painful as many have seen an increase in easing restrictions and look forward to the traditional Christmas boom season.

“The fact that the updated Strategic Framework has not seen new business support measures is a great disappointment to companies worried about the return of restrictions without a safety net.

“Given the harm that restrictions would currently do to businesses, we urge the Scottish Government to reconsider and outline how it would compensate businesses and protect jobs in this scenario.”

LeonHompson, CEO of UKHospitality Scotland, said: “Today’s statement does not remove business uncertainty at a time when many are facing financial difficulties.

“The delay in deciding whether or not to extend vaccine certification will simply bring the introduction of the extended system to December. This will increase confusion for businesses and consumers just before Christmas.

“Our businesses need to be able to trade fully at this critical time. Hotels are already reporting cancellations due to the current situation. Nightclubs and other late-night venues are claiming a drop in trade of up to 40 percent.”

Andrew McRae, president of policy for the Federation of Small Businesses, said extending the current vaccine passport system would have a disproportionate impact on local businesses with the least staff.

He said: “As policymakers consider their next steps, they must avoid a situation where they place strict constraints on the local and independent businesses that have experienced this pandemic the most.”

Sturgeon said: “We will make the final decision next Tuesday based on the latest information. In the meantime, later this week, we will release evidence paper and consult with companies on the practicalities of deployment if changes are made.

“Although the final decisions have not yet been made, I would like to tell you about the current affairs. I would also like to say that we are tentatively intending that all the changes we have made to the system will take effect on 6 December.

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Covid Scotland: One in four Scottish companies faces “immediate financial threats …

“When the program was launched on October 1, we felt it was not appropriate at the time because vaccination rates had to be raised to include testing as an alternative to a vaccination certificate. But we announced that this would be reviewed. “

He added: “So in the coming days, we will assess whether we can change the system based on current and projected vaccination rates so that in addition to showing evidence of vaccination to get to the scene, we can provide evidence of a recent negative test. This is already a feature in many other countries.

“We are also considering whether extending the system to cover more situations would be justified and sensible given the current state of the pandemic.”

Ms Sturgeon said the companies likely to be affected included indoor cinemas, theaters and some other licensed and hospitable facilities.

He said exemptions would be granted to those under the age of 18; for those who cannot be vaccinated or tested for medical reasons; for people in clinical trials; and for those working at events or facilities covered by the scheme.

Exceptions also include services, weddings, funerals and related gatherings.

He added: “I am very aware that many companies want us to remove exemptions, including certifications, and not to expand or tighten them. I understand that.

“But all of our decisions are motivated by the desire to survive a challenging winter without having to reintroduce trade restrictions.

“We want companies to stay as open as possible during Christmas and winter, and at the same time under Covid’s control. If expanding Covid certification can help us do that, it would be irresponsible not to take it into account.”

Many countries across Europe have introduced a similar system that requires a vaccine pass to enter cafes, restaurants, cinemas and gyms.

In Italy and France, a passport is also required for some public travel. Meanwhile, Austria earlier this week banned unvaccinated people from leaving home except for necessary reasons, such as working or buying food.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, criticized the Scottish Government for leaving companies just two weeks to adjust after changes to the vaccination passport system were officially announced.

Meanwhile, Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Liberal Democrat counterpart Alex Cole-Hamilton are calling for the complete abolition of the vaccine-based passport system and its replacement with a system based entirely on negative lateral flow tests (LFT).

Mr Sarwar said: “We all know the vaccine works. It reduces hospitalization, mortality and long cases of Covid. But it doesn’t stop you from getting the virus, and it doesn’t stop you from spreading the virus.

“The Scottish Labor Party has advocated the importance of a negative test at every stage of the vaccine passport development process.”

Cole-Hamilton said: “We know LFTs are better than vaccine passports. They provide a day’s snapshot of your Covid status and help ensure who is ill and who is well, and eliminates the need to share your medical history with someone other than your doctor.

Ms Sturgeon also called on people to make sure they followed government instructions on covering their faces, and launched a £ 25 million fund to improve the ventilation of business premises to prevent the virus from spreading.

Small and medium-sized businesses, such as restaurants, bars and gyms, can reclaim costs of up to £ 2,500 to carry out work such as the installation of carbon monitors and the refurbishment of windows and vents as part of a program to be opened. applications next week.

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