Covid-status certification won’t be required for pub entry at next stage

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Going to plan: Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed pubs can reopen for outdoor trading from Monday 12 April, as part of the Government's four stage roadmap (image: Andrew Parsons via No 10 Downing Street Flickr)
Going to plan: Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed pubs can reopen for outdoor trading from Monday 12 April, as part of the Government's four stage roadmap (image: Andrew Parsons via No 10 Downing Street Flickr)

Related tags: Legislation, Health and safety, Government

Pubs will be permitted to serve customers outside from next Monday (12 April) and vaccine passports will not be needed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Johnson said due to the nation's collective efforts and the vaccine roll out, the second step of the roadmap could go ahead and stated Covid-status certification wouldn't be needed for visiting pubs at the next two steps.

While the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) welcomed the news, the trade body emphasised that it was important to remember just two fifths (40%) of pubs in England – 15,000 – would be reopening for outside service and highlighted concerns over restrictions still imposed on the trade such as table service.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “We welcome the great news that our pubs can reopen once more for outdoor service from Monday 12 April.

“That first pint back in the beer garden is going to be a special moment. People across the country have been looking forward to it for months.

“We expect 40% of pubs, some 15,000 in England, to reopen from Monday 12 April. Those that do open have invested a lot in ensuring customers are both comfortable and safe, making the most of the pub beer garden. We should remember though that those reopening will likely be loss making.

“With so many pubs still not opening though, it’s crucial the Government sticks to its roadmap and allows pubs to reopen indoors from Monday 17 May and without any restrictions at all from Monday 21 June. That is the only way our pubs can trade viably and begin to fully recover.

“We continue to have deep concerns over the Governments proposals around vaccine passports and changes to guidelines on how pubs will operate once they reopen. Not allowing customers to pay at the bar for food or drink in pubs, but allowing it in cafés or shops, is completely unfair and illogical.”

Covid-status certification

Today (Monday 5 April) Johnson was joined by chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Whitty in a Government briefing.

The Prime Minister said: “I can confirm from Monday 12 April, we will move to step two of our roadmap – reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and, of course, beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.

“On Monday 12 [April], I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly, raising a pint of beer to my lips.”

During the address, nothing was said about the possibility of Covid-status certification for pubs – a topic which as been widely reported with national publications over the past few days until a BBC journalist asked the trio if the public would need passports for the pub.

Johnson said: “The most important thing to say is there is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification or Covid status report when they go to the shops to the pub garden or to the hairdressers on Monday (12 April) and indeed we are not planning that for step three either Monday 17 May (opening indoor hospitality).

“We are not planning for anything of that kind at that stage. The idea of vaccination status for international travel is something all countries are looking at.

“I do think that is going to be part of the way people deal with it and we need to think about that.

“There are basically three ingredients/ways to give reassurance to others if you go to a big mass event or where people can be assured people in the room don’t have the risk of spreading Covid.”

Event pilot schemes

Johnson went on to outline the three ways were immunity – if someone has had the virus in the past six months and had antibodies, vaccination status – if someone had received a dose of the vaccine, and testing – where he referenced the free testing on offer to people.

The Government has also announced the start of event pilot schemes, which will take Covid status certification into account.

As part of the initial list of pilots, a circa 3,000 person event will take place at Circus Nightclub in Liverpool for an indoor club night on Friday 30 April.

Venues participating in the programme will test specific settings to collect evidence and best practice, which will be shared widely so venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.

The Government said this review will be crucial to how venues such as nightclubs could operate this summer.

Researchers at the events will gather evidence with different settings and approaches to managing the mitigating transmission risk.

The pilots will look at how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation.

Covid-status certification will be trialled as part of the pilot programme.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These test pilots are certainly positive news for hospitality and could start to unlock the safe return of business conferences, festivals, concerns and larger weddings, helping people safely return to normal life from 21 June and the removal of social distancing restrictions.

“Hospitality is ready to assist in any way it can to help the pilots succeed.”

Related topics: Legislation

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