The suggestion of vaccine passports in order for people to visit our nation’s pubs, yet again places an unfair and unfounded burden on our industry, not shouldered by other sections of our economy. With indoor retail being able to open a full 5 weeks at least before our Covid-secure venues, and our pubs already collecting customer data to aid the Test & Trace programme, the introduction of another barrier for them to trade freely will have a major impact on their profitability.
In particular, the suggestion that this system may be introduced in May to coincide with the indoor opening of hospitality would be another blow for our already fragile industry. With the overwhelming majority of staff in our venues being under 25 years of age, it would be untenable for our sector to demand proof of vaccination from our customers, whilst a large percentage of staff would still be weeks, if not months from vaccination themselves.
Steven Alton, BII CEO commented:
“Public Health England proved last year that despite over 60 million visits a week in the summer of 2020 to hospitality venues, there was no discernible rise in Covid rates caused by people safely socialising in our pubs. To demand even more of them at a time when their businesses are teetering on the edge, and at the same time excluding members of their communities who may not have the option of vaccination, would be devastating for our sector.
“The recovery of our nation’s economy will rely heavily on our vibrant and vital sector, which contributes almost £60 billion to the treasury each year. To introduce this unworkable solution at a point where our pubs need to be open and trading freely and fully, will seriously endanger the survival of our pubs and materially damage the communities, high streets, livelihoods, suppliers & brewers and local employment that rely so heavily upon them.
“The Prime Minister must deliver his roadmap commitment with pubs to be free of restrictions on June 21st. This roadmap was clearly based on the fantastic progress of the national vaccine roll out that fundamentally changes the risks that we are exposed to and allowing us to unlock our lives once more. Our pubs, small businesses led by entrepreneurs, are facing a long road to recovery, more unworkable & baseless ideas will result in business failure & lost jobs.”