This announcement came during the same week in which Boris Johnson was accused of lying about a ‘lockdown Christmas party’ and breaking coronavirus social distancing rules as well as lockdown protocol at No.10 in December 2020, claims which the Prime Minister (PM) has denied.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “Vaccine passports have a damaging impact on night-time economy businesses, as we have seen in other parts of the UK where they have been implemented, trade is down 30% in Scotland and 26% in Wales following their implementation.
“The UK Government have twice ruled out vaccine passports before twice changing their mind. The pre-Christmas period is absolutely crucial for our sector and reports today that Plan B including vaccine passports will have a devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic.”
More than three quarters (78%) of publicans surveyed in a recent poll for The Morning Advertiser had already noticed a spike in Christmas bookings cancellations due to the announcement of the latest coronavirus variant, Omicron, despite the World Health Organisation stating Omicron was milder than previous variants.
No impact on virus transmission
Kill added: “The Government’s own report on the subject concluded vaccine passports wouldn’t even have a significant impact on virus transmission, you do, therefore, have to question the timing and rationale for this announcement.
“Is this sound evidence-based public policy making, or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing St Christmas party? Nightclubs and bars must not be thrown under the bus for the Prime Minister to save his own skin.
“And of course, these businesses, who have already sacrificed so much during the pandemic, will be asking – ‘why are we being asked to carry more of the burden when it seemed that the most senior Government officials felt they didn’t need to do their bit?’”