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GOVERNMENT SCRAPS VACCINE PASSPORT PLAN

The British Government has done a U-turn on its plans for requiring proof of vaccination to enter venues and nightclubs—news that has been welcomed by the industry.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the plan, which was due to be introduced at the end of September, is no longer going ahead. He told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that he had “never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers" to "do what is just an everyday activity,” reports the BBC.

"We just shouldn't be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly,” Javid said. He didn’t rule out introducing the option in the future, saying that it will be kept in “reserve.”

Amid speculation from the live music industry that the plan wouldn’t be brought in, the Government confirmed twice over the last few weeks that it would. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he intended to press on with the plan at the beginning of September, while vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi called it “the best way to keep businesses open” a week later. Sources suggest this strategy was a ploy to encourage vaccination uptake amongst the youth.

Mark Dayvd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, welcomed the new decision, saying that the program “contained a number of challenges around deliverability, practicality, equality and potential discrimination.”

“Our issue with double vaccination certification as a sole requirement of entry was that it was highly unlikely to achieve improved safety above and beyond those measures already in place and highly likely to create a two tier night time economy which divided venues and customers,” he said

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, which has been a fierce opponent of the plan, also welcomed the news. "We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic."

Last week, Scotland stamped the OK on vaccine passports, which are set to come into force for venues with a capacity of over 500 in the country from the beginning of October. MVT has tweeted that it is "strongly" encouraging the "Scottish government to look again at its proposals, and reflect on the problems differing schemes creates for artists, crew and staff."

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