Although England celebrated its so-called ‘Freedom Day’ yesterday, last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the controversial announcement that ‘vaccine passports’ will be required for entry to all nightclubs and in-door gatherings by the end of September. This comes despite the government repeatedly assuring the night time industry that this would never be the case.
To qualify for the passport and therefore entry, punters will have to prove that they have had both doses of the vaccine, but according to the latest figures, 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds have not had their first jab. It had previously been suggested that a simple negative test would be enough for entry, but under the new rules they will no longer be accepted without both jabs.
The PM—who is self-isolating after being in close contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who recently contracted COVID-19—said he has major concerns about how quickly the virus is being transmitted even as the vaccines are rolled out.
In a press conference yesterday, July 19, the PM announced: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere. But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing. As we said last week, we do reserve the right to mandate certification at any point if it’s necessary to reduce transmission. And I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over 18s have had their chance to be double jabbed we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.”
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance described nightclubs and other such venues as “potential super spreading events”, adding: “I would expect that with opening of nightclubs, we’ll continue to see an increase in cases, and we will see outbreaks related to specific nightclubs as well.”