UK to trial ‘Covid passports’ to restart live events industry

UK to trial ‘Covid passports’ to restart live events industry
The UK government has announced that it will trial a series of measures, including covid vaccine passports, to restart the live events industry in 2021.

The trials will take place at sports matches, live events and nightclubs over the course of several months, with passes required to show if a person had been vaccinated, had a negative result in a recent Covid-19 antigen test or natural immunity.

Nigel Huddleston, UK sports minister, stressed that any use of passes would be “time-limited”, with pilots set to last until mid-May, with any adoption of Covid-19 passport rules to be voted on in the UK parliament.

Individuals taking part will need to give consent when booking a ticket, receiving text messages about Covid-19 safety, minimising of contacts before the event and taking a test as close to the event as possible.

Concerns have been raised that a ‘passport’ style entry system could present privacy concerns centred around the sharing of health data, as well as potentially creating a ‘two tier’ system of vaccinated and unvaccinated access if implemented.

The trials follow another experimental effort to host live events safely, after 5,000 fans attended a concert in Barcelona, Spain after a negative result from a Covid-19 antigen test and wearing a mask throughout the concert. Previous attempts have also experimented with space bubbles at a concert in Oklahoma, USA, sealing attendees in space bubbles for the duration of the show. 

If implemented nationally, the Covid certification scheme would aim to target larger, ticketed events, however passports or passes would not be required for the reopening of outdoor hospitality or non-essential retail on 12 April or indoor hospitality from 17 May.

Photo credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock 

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