COVID-19: Vaccine certificates to be introduced at nightclubs and large events in Wales from next month

People in Wales will have to show a COVID-19 vaccine passport or a negative test to enter nightclubs and attend events from next month, the Welsh government has announced.

From 11 October, anyone over 18 will have to show either an NHS COVID pass proving their vaccine status or a negative test result in order to enter nightclubs, indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 attendees.

The Welsh government said the measure is being introduced to help reduce the spread of coronavirus as infection rates reach "high levels" in the country.

A COVID pass shows if a person has been fully vaccinated and also if someone has had a negative lateral flow test within the past 48 hours.

A nightclub trade body had warned First Minister Mark Drakeford that COVID certificates would have a "hugely detrimental impact on trade, and would result in some of the hardest-hit Welsh businesses losing out to those in England".

In a letter to the first minister, Benjamin Newby from the Night Time Industries Association added: "With no criteria to identify ‘nightclubs’, and with local authorities differing in licensing conditions, any implementation of vaccine certification will be inevitably arbitrary."

He warned there would be confrontations between staff and annoyed customers, and potential fraud.

The Lib Dems and Conservatives in the Senedd also expressed concerns and called on ministers to not implement the scheme.

Mr Drakeford has also encouraged everyone to work from home if possible and make sure they are fully vaccinated, but said the alert level will remain at zero for the next three weeks.

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Wales has seen a steep increase in cases since the beginning of August, although they have started to come down again in the past 10 days.

Currently, the country has a rate of 494.3 cases per 100,000 population. England has a case rate of 347.9.

Mr Drakeford said: "My message to you today is a simple but serious one – the pandemic is not over and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

"We have high levels of the virus in our communities and while our fantastic vaccination programme has helped stop thousands more people from becoming seriously ill or dying, the pressure on the NHS is increasing.

"We hope introducing the requirement to show a COVID pass will help keep venues and events – many of which have only recently started trading again – open.

"Showing a COVID Pass is already part of our collective effort to keep businesses open with some major events, such as the successful Green Man Festival, using it.

"We will continue to work closely with all businesses affected to ensure a smooth introduction and operation of this system.

"We want to do everything we can to keep Wales safe as we head into the autumn."

Scotland will introduce vaccine certificates for nightclubs and many large events from 1 October.

England has not yet introduced them but under the government’s winter plan, it will consider using them for large events.

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