Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said vaccine passports could be introduced to the wider hospitality industry in the next three weeks if COVID numbers do not go down.
In Wales, vaccine passports are required for nightclubs, and will be required for concert halls, cinemas, and theatres from November 15.
“We will say today that the hospitality industry needs to use the next three weeks to prepare for the possibility that Covid passes may have to be used in that setting,” Mark Drakeford told BBC Breakfast.
“That’s a specific example of an action that we could take in three weeks’ time.”
His comments suggested that in three weeks, the Welsh could require vaccine passes to enter pubs and restaurants.
This announcement of further restrictions on civil liberties comes even though newly published research suggests vaccines have little impact on the actual spreading of COVID.
After the First Minister’s comments in the BBC interview, the government announced the same measure if cases do not dip.
“There are currently no plans to introduce covid passes for pubs, hotels etc., and the FM was very clear this morning that we hope the extra measures introduced today will have a positive impact on the figures,” a spokesperson said.
“However, if cases remain high – and rise – this is an option that the Cabinet may have to consider at the next review round.”
In the UK, Wales currently has the highest official infection rate, with 686 cases for every 100,000 people.
Drakeford also warned that restrictions would be reintroduced in schools and workplaces.
“When I talk about risk assessments in the workplace, I’m talking about the number of people who can work safely from home. Maybe we will have to do more of that,” he said.
“As you said at the moment we do not have social distancing as a standalone measure in the workplace. We did for many, many months. If we can’t bring the numbers down through the actions we will take over the next three weeks, we will have to revisit that basket of measures we have drawn on previously.”
The First Minister insisted that the vaccine passports will not be introduced if cases go down.
“The situation in Wales is that we have far too many cases of coronavirus in the community,” he said. “Vaccination continues to stem the flow of people into hospitals, but hospitals are under huge pressure.
“We want to keep Wales safe and keep Wales open. But we have to do more over the next three weeks – otherwise, we’ll have to think of a wider repertoire of actions.
“The Welsh Government will continue to enforce the measures we do have in place over the next three weeks, and we all need to make sure we extract the maximum impact from those measures to get those numbers down.
“What I’m sure we will see in the next three weeks is the collective determination of people in Wales to grasp this situation and to help every one of us to get these numbers back down, so that we can carry on with the level of very modest restrictions we currently have, as we get further into autumn and winter.”
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