Scottish nightclub body launches legal challenge to vaccine passport plans

Group said ‘deeply flawed and incoherent’ proposals would impact thousands of bars and pubs

The industry body representing Scottish nightclubs has launched a legal challenge to the Holyrood government’s plans for vaccine passports.

The planned requirement for people over the age of 18 to show proof of vaccination to gain entry to nightclubs and large-scale events comes into force in Scotland on 1 October.

But the Night Time Industries Association Scotland (NTIA) describes the plans as “deeply flawed and incoherent”, and has now instructed lawyers to seek a judicial review of the proposals.

The group said the scheme has been drafted without meaningful industry consultation and that the definition of “nightclub” set out by Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, is likely to impact thousands of other bars and pubs.

The Scottish government has faced repeated criticism over the plans from opposition parties concerned with infringement of civil liberties as well as sports and industry leaders who have described them as unworkable and a threat to livelihoods.

Despite some Scottish ministers previously expressing reservations about vaccine passports, including Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens who last week entered a power-sharing agreement with the Holyrood government, Sturgeon insists they are “proportionate” as a tool to curb rising Covid infections before the autumn.

On Tuesday, Sturgeon set out the definition of a nightclub drawn up for use with the scheme, this being a venue open between midnight and 5am, serving alcohol, having a designated area for dancing and providing live or recorded music for this purpose.

She said a “pragmatic approach” would be encouraged, “so that businesses can make sensible judgments.”

But the head of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Liz Cameron, immediately responded that it would extend to many more hotels, pubs and other venues than expected with “thousands” of businesses now caught up in the rules, “with little time left to understand, plan and implement them before the deadline”.

Mike Grieve, chair of NTIA Scotland, said: “Having disregarded input from NTIA Scotland in discussions since the vaccine passport policy was announced, and having forced a rush vote through Scottish parliament, the Scottish government have now confirmed that this deeply flawed and incoherent policy will come into effect from 1 October, focusing the negative attention on one small subsection of society, and all the economic damage on the sector already most affected by the pandemic”.

Scottish Labour’s Finance and Economy spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, said the legal challenge “plunges the SNP’s misguided vaccine passport scheme into yet more chaos”.

“SNP ministers have provided no impact assessment, no details on what business will need to do or even how the criteria will apply with only days before these measures will be brought in. It is no wonder trade bodies feel forced to challenge the government in the courts”.


Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Scotland proposes Covid vaccine certificates for nightclub entry
Nicola Sturgeon says certificates in limited scenarios could protect public health and boost vaccine take-up

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

01, Sep, 2021 @3:20 PM

Article image
Scottish opposition parties outraged at vaccine passport plan
Sturgeon’s proposals described by Tories as ‘shambolic’ and by nightlife industry as ‘completely incoherent’

Libby Brooks Scotland correpondent

02, Sep, 2021 @12:55 PM

Article image
Scotland delays Covid vaccine passports after backlash from nightclubs
Businesses will get extra time to tackle practical challenges before legal action can be enforced

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

28, Sep, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Nicola Sturgeon unveils plans for easing Scotland's Covid restrictions
First minister says lockdown will remain for at least six weeks, with gradual easing after 5 April

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

23, Feb, 2021 @4:40 PM

Article image
Scottish Covid vaccine trialists ‘treated like second-class citizens’
Novavax volunteers fear start of vaccine passports next month could put them at further disadvantage

Libby Brooks

19, Sep, 2021 @3:54 PM

Article image
Hancock stresses need for caution at borders; cases fall to lowest daily level for a month – as it happened
Latest updates: patients on ventilators hit record high as UK records 22,195 further cases and 592 Covid-related deaths

Andrew Sparrow

25, Jan, 2021 @6:19 PM

Article image
Search for missing Brazilian variant case narrows to 379 homes in south-east England, says Hancock
Latest updates: health secretary updated Commons on Brazil variant; all Scottish pupils should be back in school full-time after Easter

Andrew Sparrow

02, Mar, 2021 @5:37 PM

Article image
Sturgeon welcomes 'official, definitive, independent' ruling she did not breach ministerial code – as it happened
Latest updates: Scotland first minister had been accused over investigation into allegations against Alex Salmond

Andrew Sparrow

22, Mar, 2021 @6:39 PM

Article image
UK Covid: Burnham tells Sturgeon to justify Scotland ban on non-essential travel to and from Manchester – as it happened
Mayor of Greater Manchester writes open letter to Scotland’s first minister about decision ban on non-essential travel to and from city

Andrew Sparrow

21, Jun, 2021 @5:04 PM

Article image
UK Covid: 96 further coronavirus deaths recorded, highest daily total since March – as it happened
Latest updates: highest daily total for almost four months as total number of deaths over past week is up 60.6% on previous week

Andrew Sparrow

20, Jul, 2021 @4:24 PM