Government ministers are discussing whether vaccine passports could be used to allow pubs, restaurants and theatres to stay open if covid cases soar again this winter.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has already warned that although it is ‘looking good’ for the lifting of restrictions on July 19, Britain could still face a ‘rough winter’ if covid cases surge.
Mail Online reports: Plans for the widespread use of so-called Covid passports were put on the back-burner earlier this year following a backlash from MPs and parts of the hospitality sector.
But a review into ‘Covid certification’ led by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is now examining whether they could be used to enable venues like pubs, restaurants and theatres to remain open if cases rocket later this year.
A new function on the NHS app allows people in England to demonstrate their vaccination status. The function will be used to enable people to travel abroad. It is also being piloted at major events such as Wimbledon as part of trials to allow in larger crowds.
Ministers expect it to become commonplace at mass events where people would otherwise have to take a Covid test to gain entry.
However, a Whitehall source told the Mail last night the scheme could be used to keep open a much wider range of venues if a surge this winter requires ministers to consider lockdown restrictions.
‘The reason we are trialling Covid certification this summer is partly to get mass events open more safely with bigger crowds, but also partly to get people used to the idea,’ the source said.
‘We hope that with high vaccination rates we will be in a very different position this winter. But if we do find ourselves in a dire situation then certification could be a tool in our armoury to keeps things open that might otherwise have to close.’
Dozens of Tory MPs have warned they will vote against the use of Covid passports in pubs. But ministers believe opposition may soften if the alternative is the closure of sections of the economy.