Scots can use negative COVID-19 test instead of vaccine passports from December

Published on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Scots will be able to use recent negative lateral flow test results to get into venues covered by the vaccine passport scheme. The First Minister revealed the new Covid-19 rules will come into force across the country from December 6 onwards, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

It comes as Ms Sturgeon stepped back from expanding the jab passport scheme to pubs, cinemas and theatres. SNP ministers had planned to bring more venues under the controversial scheme but faced a backlash from business and anger at a lack of evidence it had boosted jab uptake.

The vaccine passports are currently needed for late-night premises with music, which serve alcohol and have a designated place for dancing, and certain large indoor and outdoor events.

The First Minister again urged Scots to get vaccinated if they have not already received both jags.

She also urged people to test themselves more regularly over the festive period before visiting loved ones or pals.

The SNP leader said doing both to help stop the spread of Covid is the “most precious gift” Scots can give this year.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs the call on rolling out vaccine passports to a “much wider range of premises” was “a very, very finely balanced decision”, but said: “At this stage we have decided not to extend the scope of the scheme. We have taken account of the fact that – although our situation is precarious – cases are currently stable and indeed slightly declining.

And they have considered the inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the operation of businesses, and concluded that, at this stage, extension would not be proportionate.

On Monday, business leaders warned Ms Sturgeon she risked “severe economic harm” by expanding the scheme to the wider hospitality sector.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said it was unconvinced that the public health benefits of an extension to the scheme outweigh the negatives for individuals, businesses and the economy.

The Scottish Government was also slated as its own “evidence” dossier last week said jab uptake had risen “slightly” since it was announced in September – but “it is not possible to directly attribute rises to the introduction of certification”.

Scottish Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said it was “welcome that the vaccine possible scheme is not being extended”, but said: “The uncertainty that this government has left. hanging over businesses for the past two weeks has been unnecessary and unacceptable.”

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