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Moray Chamber of Commerce: Vaccine passports "could prove damaging to business"

By Jonathan Clark

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THE introduction of Covid-19 vaccine passports in Scotland "could prove damaging to business", Moray Chamber of Commerce has said.

The Scottish Government recently confirmed plans to make vaccine passports mandatory to gain entry to nightclubs, as well as many large indoor and outdoor events, from the end of September.

The government said the move was needed to contain the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.

However, Moray Chamber of Commerce described the passports as "economic deterrents" and said they could damage business.

Operations manager Kara Stewart said: "Throughout the pandemic, businesses here in Moray have done everything at their disposal to keep their clients, customers and employees safe.

Kara Stewart, operations manager at Moray Chamber of Commerce.
Kara Stewart, operations manager at Moray Chamber of Commerce.

“Even today, many businesses are going beyond what is legally required of them to help halt transmission and keep case numbers down.

“Scotland’s economy is now finally beginning to recover however the fact remains that many businesses continue to operate in survival mode and the prospect of economic deterrents, such as vaccine certificates, could prove damaging to business and consumer confidence.”

The director and chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to raise questions about the introduction of the passports.

Dr Liz Cameron OBE..Picture: Callum Mackay
Dr Liz Cameron OBE..Picture: Callum Mackay

In her letter, she raised several issues that businesses have discussed with her.

She said there is concern about the administrative burden, the time-scale for the introduction of the passports and "range of ethical and moral issues".

Dr Cameron also asked for clarification on whether staff members would need the passports.

She said: "Businesses are concerned that vaccination certification would add another layer of administrative burden to sectors that have already been hardest hit.

"We understand those operating in the live events sector are putting in place contingency plans including considering cancelling events or re-organising for elsewhere in the UK, putting Scotland at a further economic disadvantage.

"Members have raised concerns over the pace at which certifications are to be deployed and urge the publication of specific evidence and modelling which demonstrates how vaccine certifications will reduce transmission in the settings that will require vaccine certification.

"There is uncertainty around areas such as enforcement and monitoring, as well as which businesses the certifications will apply to.

"Seeking to encourage maximum vaccine take-up is of course a laudable aspiration, however vaccine certifications, particularly when this measure can be seen to be targeted at influencing the actions of specific groups such as younger people, raises a range of ethical and moral issues."

People are able to download a PDF copy of their vaccine certification from today at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/after-your-vaccine/get-a-record-of-your-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-status. Paper letters can be requested by calling the Covid helpline on 0808 196 8565.

A vote on whether to introduce the passports will take place in Holyrood next week.

Plans currently mean proof of vaccination will be required later this month to enter nightclubs; unseated indoor events with more than 500 people; unseated outdoor events with more than 4000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

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