Covid Scotland: No vaccine passport enforcement in all major Scottish cities

There has been no enforcement of the vaccine passport scheme in any of Scotland’s major cities since the scheme came into force on Monday, with opposition politicians repeating calls for the measure to be scrapped.

Asked by The Scotsman whether any enforcement action had been taken by councils in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness, each council said no premises had yet been hit by the enforcement powers available.

Local authorities are using the so-called ‘four E’s’ approach, with enforcement being the last resort for environmental health officers if venues do not abide by the rules.

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No nightclubs saw enforcement action in the first week of the vaccine certification being in full force.

This weekend will be the first full weekend nightclubs and other venues will be expected to fully comply with the restrictions imposed by the vaccine certification scheme, which requires any customer to have a copy of their vaccine status available to gain entry.

The scheme was brought in on October 1, but enforcement was delayed until October 18 by the Scottish Government, ostensibly to provide venues and larger venues such as football clubs time to test the systems required to implement the scheme.

However, industry insiders said the mere threat of enforcement action was enough to see venues close at midnight.

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said many venues captured by the definition of nightclub within the vaccine certification scheme were not taking the risk of opening for fear of enforcement action.

He said: “Enforcement is a last resort and we hope that nobody will get to the enforcement level, but that is still a threat.

"The message is not out there that this is not nightclubs. This is 2,000 businesses that are captured in this definition of nightclub.

"There are a lot of anxious owners around at the moment. Anybody that has any sign of anxiety or fear, they are just going to lock up.

“Our call this week is for everybody to bear in mind to be kind to hospitality and don’t take their anger out on door staff cause they are only there doing the job that they have been told to do by the government.”

Confirmation there had been no enforcement in the first week of the scheme has led to opposition politicians repeating their calls for the scheme to be scrapped.

Scottish Labour labelled it a “publicity stunt gone wrong” and called on the SNP to “admit defeat”.

The party’s health and Covid recovery spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said: “Now the SNP’s shambolic vaccine passport scheme is fully in place, it’s still no clearer what its purpose is.

“It’s good to see councils aren’t taking a heavy-handed approach to enforcing this misguided scheme, but they shouldn’t have been left to enforce the unenforceable in the first place.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that this scheme was nothing more than a publicity stunt gone wrong from the SNP.

“It’s time for them to admit defeat and focus on measures that actually work – like our beleaguered Test and Protect system and the lagging vaccine booster programme.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats, who have opposed the scheme from the start, said the initiative was “lulling people into a false sense of security”.

Party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The SNP and Green's Covid ID cards have been flawed from the outset. It should come as no surprise that they are proving to be an unenforceable burden rather than part of our response to Covid-19.

"Far from offering protection against the virus, vaccine certification is actually lulling people into a false sense of security.

“Vaccines, a properly managed booster programme and a rigorous test and trace system are the answer, not Covid ID cards. Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for this ineffective solution to be ditched.”

According to the latest Scottish Government figures, 19 coronavirus deaths and 2,902 cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours.

It means the death toll under this daily measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, is now 9,031.

The daily test positivity rate was 8.8 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent the previous day.

There were 894 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19, down 23 on the previous day, with 60 in intensive care, up two.

So far 4,299,649 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,888,408 have received a second dose.

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

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