Trade ‘decimated’ by vaccine passport scheme in Scotland

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Trade suffering: some venues have decommissioned dance floors to avoid vaccine passport scheme inclusion (credit: Getty/wundervisuals)
Trade suffering: some venues have decommissioned dance floors to avoid vaccine passport scheme inclusion (credit: Getty/wundervisuals)

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Trade in the night-time economy has been decimated during the first week of the Scottish government’s controversial vaccine passport scheme, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

Research by the NTIA showed business at nightclubs has dropped by almost half (46%), with some operators reporting declines in excess of 60% compared to previous weeks before the vaccine passport scheme​ came into effect.

NTIA said the 46% decline in trade for clubs would represent lost income of £506,000 per year per venue, on average, if this scheme continues compared to pre-vaccine passport business.

Moves to avoid scheme

The trade body’s poll of its members also discovered a 24% decline in sales for pubs and bars would represent lost income of £180,000, on average, versus trade before and venues enforcing the scheme report their expenses to administer the scheme in items such as staffing and equipment would result in £31,200 per year of additional costs.

Trade in pubs and bars have dropped by one quarter (24%) despite 90% of these venues implementing measures to take themselves out of remit of the scheme.

The 90% of pubs and bars with late-night entertainment offers that have removed themselves from the scope of the scheme have implementing measures such as decommissioning dance floors, reducing opening hours or cancelling live entertainment – all at significant financial loss. 

NTIA, which representing businesses operating between the hours of 6pm to 6am and includes nightclubs, live music venues, bars, pubs, promoters, festivals and entertainment venues, said the negative impact on Scotland’s cultural scene is escalating rapidly, with a number of performances and booked shows now being cancelled due to the severe impact of reduced attendance following the introduction of vaccine passports. 

Utterly bewildering

NTIA Scotland spokesman Gavin Stevenson said: “It is utterly bewildering that the Scottish government has completely ignored the warnings from sectoral experts as to the dire consequences of this scheme.

“It has taken just one week for our concerns around market distortion, unfair competition, discrimination and the severe economic impact to be proven true, while the huge reduction in Covid-19 cases that happened well before the scheme came into effect demonstrates the scheme is simply not necessary to reduce cases.

“We’re calling on the Scottish government to scrap this flawed scheme and work with our sector to explore alternatives that are workable and allow businesses to remain viable.”

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