Bringing in a digital “papers, please” system of vaccine passports could spike Covid cases and increase costs for venues, according to an impact analysis report by the UK government.
The government was considering plans to once again set aside civil liberties and mandate the controversial vaccine passports for both indoor and outdoor venues if cases increase to the extent of straining the National Health Service resources.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) conducted an analysis of the social and economic impact of vaccine passports. According to the 13-page document obtained by The Telegraph, vaccine passports have the potential of increasing cases as they would encourage people to go to poorly ventilated venues such as pubs instead of the relatively safer outdoor venues.
Vaccine passports could also cost venues millions as they would lose unvaccinated customers and have to hire more staff to check passports.
As part of the analysis, the DCMS evaluated whether vaccine mandates would result in “any displacement effects to other types of venues not included for certification.”
The document states that: “There is potential displacement between live events venues and hospitality venues. A core concern in the sector is that certification could displace activity and business away from music venues to, say, pubs with music and late alcohol licenses, etc. which could be counterintuitive and potentially counter-productive.”
It adds: “Similarly, if certification displaces some fans from structured and well ventilated sports stadia this could lead to them attending unstructured and poorly ventilated pubs instead, where they will have access to more alcohol than if there were in the stadia. Evidence from the Euros showed spikes in cases associated with pubs even when England were playing abroad.”
The document also acknowledges the impracticality of conducting certification checks, particularly for Premier League venues.
“Some venues (e.g. Premier League clubs) have stated that they are constrained by the location of their stadiums, and coupled with flow rates, the risk of bottlenecks is too great to make 100 per cent certification checks logistically possible,” one line in the document reads.
The analysis also notes the potential for unsafe situations should passport mandates be introduced.
“Given existing queues and high flow rates at PL [Premier League games] this is clearly adding to the pressures of queues, potentially making PL games unsafe and operationally very difficult.
“If this was increased to mandate every attendee being checked, this would have significant impacts on the operational viability of the matches.”
Vaccine passports mandates are part of the UK government’s plan should cases surge in fall and winter to the extent of straining the NHS. The government proposed vaccine passport requirements for indoor venues with more than 500 attendees, outdoor venues with more than 4,000 attendees, and all venues with more than 10,000 people, and all night clubs.
The documents state that stadiums with more than 10,000 capacity would have to hire over 5,700 extra stewards to check passports. It also estimates that vaccine passport mandates would cost the Royal Albert Hall an additional cost of £1,050 for each event.
Additionally, the turnover cost for the affected venues could decrease by £345 million to £2.067 billion.
Scotland implemented a vaccine passport scheme. In the first weekend of implementation, the scheme was described as an “unmitigated disaster” by the Scottish Hospitality Group.