UK businesses not sold on vaccine passport idea

April 09, 2021 | 16:18
Britain's retail and hospitality sectors have hit out the possibility of vaccine passports after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government is seeking "all possibilities" to keep Covid-hit sectors open.
uk businesses not sold on vaccine passport idea
A woman walks past a closed pub in Truro, Cornwall in southwest England on April 7, 2021, during lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that non-essential retail, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality will reopen in England from April 12, as criteria for moving forward with a second phase of easing coronavirus restrictions in England had been met.(JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Following the UK's massive vaccine rollout, non-essential retail such as clothes shops, and hospitality including restaurants and pubs, reopen their doors across England on Monday -- and the government wants to make sure they stay open.

But mirroring the reaction in other countries with large-scale vaccinations, many British businesses are unhappy at the possibility of passport restrictions.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that "while Covid status certification may play an important role in certain activities, such as international travel, our members are clear that it would not be appropriate or useful in a retail setting".

In a statement sent to AFP on Thursday, she noted that "ad hoc purchases from customers... would be badly affected by the additional barriers to trade.

"Instead, we believe that continuing to follow the existing strict safety protocols, including regular cleaning, face coverings, and regular hand washing are the best course of action to protect staff and customers in stores," she added.

Israel's rollout of a "green pass" following a much-lauded speedy vaccine campaign is being watched with interest.

In the United States, any passes are set to be private or state initiatives.

In Britain, the head of the Night Time Industries Association has hit out at what he sees as "sector discrimination".

Chief executive Michael Kill added that "barriers around mandatory vaccination certificates to gain access to businesses within" his sector "is unworkable, and would cause further anxiety for operators".

Kill pointed to an already "clear disparity between the way that the night time economy and hospitality sector businesses are being treated by the government" and retail which have been handed "a more favourable date for reopening".


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