Boris Johnson, former U.K. foreign secretary, holds a beer during a visit to The Metropolitan Bar, a JD Wetherspoon PLc pub, as part of his Conservative Party leadership campaign tour, in London – Henry Nicholls /Reuters
Boris Johnson has been urged to think again on Covid vaccine passports for pubs, after suggesting on Wednesday that it “may be up to individual publicans” to decide whether to impose restrictions on those that have not been vaccinated.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, has warned that vaccine passports would put “businesses in an impossible situation”, while Tory MP Steve Baker has suggested that vaccine passports could lead to a “two-tier Britain.”
Are vaccine passports for attending the pub a good idea? Read on for the best discussion points from our readers and share your view in the comments section at the bottom of this article.
‘It’s a bureaucratic minefield’
“This idea is appalling on a variety of levels.
“It causes pubs an added administrative burden as they will need a member of staff at the door permanently. This will push up their costs. In busy pubs they might need to devote two people to doing nothing else! Will the government pay them? They should.
“Those who haven’t a passport – how are they assessed? Covid tests take 30 mins to process. Who would administer them and how? The idea of trying to test people coming into a busy pub is nonsense. The tests are simply not that rapid. There is a cost implication, too.
“The most worrying aspect is passport creep. Will these then be used at other events? There are huge libertarian implications. Do we want a society where we only get into concerts, galleries, restaurants and other events by showing a passport? It’s a very dangerous approach and should be resisted by all those who are interested in our liberties.
“Finally, young people are the least likely to be vaccinated by the time pubs reopen but are the most likely to visit pubs and clubs. This is obviously an invitation for chaos!
“The whole idea is totally un-British and a bureaucratic minefield. It will keep the lawyers busy!”
‘I would rather go to the pub knowing people were vaccinated’
“Yes, I would far rather go to a pub, or any place where social distancing is all but impossible, knowing that all the people there were vaccinated, where possible.”
‘Pubs have already been forced to spend thousands on Covid safety measures’
“Who in their right mind thinks that pubs, who have been forced to spend thousands on Covid safety measures, only to be closed for the best part of a year, will be queuing up to implement this stupidity!
“Given that the vaccinated can still spread the virus anyway, why would anyone even consider this insanity?”
Vaccine passport in pubs
‘To the landlords that go down this route, I will not be visiting your establishment’
“Does Boris Johnson really think beleaguered pubs, after missing a year of trade, are going to request that drinkers show their ‘passports’ to gain access?
“To those landlords that do dare to go down this route, you will never see me in your establishment again.
“And that goes for restaurants, clubs, cinemas, and anywhere else that opts for this sort of operation.”
‘Vaccine certificates should be required to enter any enclosed area’
“After every person in the UK has had a vaccine or been offered one, vaccine certificates should be required to enter into any enclosed area. The only persons or parties who should be exempt, and therefore excused, are those with some medical condition for not having a vaccine.
“If people choose not to get a jab that, of course, is their choice but then they should face the consequences of being deprived of certain amenities. This is not inconsistent with a free democratic society. “
‘Why would pubs bother?’
“How is this going to work with young adults who won’t have been offered both jabs until September?
“How is it going to work with under-18s who will not have been vaccinated at all?
“Also, why would pubs bother? Just as with Test and Trace, they soon got fed up with asking for people’s contact details on arrival and just put up the QR code, that you could safely ignore.”
‘It’s hard enough to make a living in a pub’
“I doubt if many landlords will do this. It’s hard enough to make a living in a pub and harder still if you are going to stop customers coming in.”
‘This may be the only way we can return to standing at the bar’
“I am fine with this if it is the only way we can return to standing at the bar, joking with mates, chatting to the bar staff and shaking hands.
“The alternative would be wearing masks, sitting at spaced out tables and being served by staff wearing face masks and visors. We would need to provide our contact details anyway.”
‘How can it be necessary in my hometown where cases are low?’
“In my hometown there are virtually no positive tests, no hospitalisations, and no deaths even vaguely associated with Covid.
“How could it possibly be necessary to require anyone to prove that they have had a vaccination when no one is ill or infectious?”
‘Where do we get these vaccine passports from and when?’
“Where do we get these ‘vaccine passports’ from and when? Most pub goers won’t be fully vaccinated until late summer or possibly late autumn for the under 30s – only NHS and care staff and the over 70s will have had both jabs – so won’t be ‘fully protected’ before pubs reopen fully on May 17.
“All anyone who has had the vaccine has as proof is a small card with your name on it – there is no photo or any information on it bar your name, date of vaccine and which vaccine and batch you had.
“I’m just curious to see whether this data will be converted into an app you can show at pubs or gyms or at airports? Will we have to consent to the NHS sharing our jab data?”
‘Any business can decide for themselves who to serve’
“Any business can decide for themselves who to serve as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of sex or race. Nothing new here.
“Pubs are perfectly entitled to not serve you without proof of vaccination if they so wish. Don’t some people know what has been a basic legal principle for hundreds of years?”
‘Younger people will be denied access’
“Quite clearly many younger people will not have been vaccinated when hospitality has reopened. The notion that they should be denied access while those prioritised, and for whose benefit the lockdown has been organised, enjoy themselves is obscene.
“I won’t be visiting any establishment with such a policy in place, and I have had the vaccine.”
‘You can forge passports and driving licences and we still have them’
“Pubs already use their discretion in deciding who to serve and can bar individuals. The only way to prevent them asking for proof of vaccination is to make it illegal for them to ask and not to give anyone any evidence that they have been vaccinated, unless the small card we are given after the first dose is acceptable.
“I hope we are not all going to be forced to have smart phones, however. A card with something that can be scanned would be fine – although pubs are not likely to have scanners.
“There will doubtless be cries of ‘yes, but the certificate could be forged’ and yes, some no doubt will be. You can forge passports and driving licences but we still have them. It’s not a good argument.”
Are vaccine passports for attending the pub a good idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.