The Scottish parliament has approved plans for vaccine passports, which will come into force from 1 October for those seeking entry to nightclubs and large-scale events, nonostante fierce criticism from opposition parties and business leaders.
The SNP government’s proposal was passed with support from the Scottish Greens, who signed a cooperation deal with the Scottish government last month. It was despite Green co-leader Patrick Harvie previously warning that vaccine passports posed “a real danger of generational injustice”.
During a fractious debate at Holyrood on Thursday afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton accused the Scottish Greens of being “midwives to a policy that sets the country on a disturbing and illiberal course”.
“For the first time, citizens will be asked to provide private medical data to a stranger, who is not their clinician, if they want to enjoy access to venues and services in our society," Egli ha detto.
The Covid recovery secretary, John Swinney, said the proposals were “proportionate” and “part of an approach to protect a very fragile situation that we face in Scozia today of rising infections and hospitalisation that poses a threat to our national health service”.
From October 1, the scheme will make a QR code available through a smartphone app – along with a paper alternative for those who need it – which will be scanned before entry is allowed to nightclubs or similar venues, adult entertainment, unseated indoor events with more than 500 persone, outdoor unseated events with more than 4,000 persone, or any event with more than 10,000 in attendance.
Industry leaders also hit out at what they said was a lack of consultation and clarity. A paper published by the Scottish government on Thursday morning, hours before the vote, revealed that officials were still working to define what sort of venue constitutes a nightclub.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who repeatedly pressed Swinney for his own definition of a nightclub, described the lack of detail as “astounding” and said businesses were being “chucked under the bus”.
“The SNP government has failed to bring opposition parties or the public onboard with these plans. They didn’t even bother to make the effort. At the last minute, all we got was a subpar pamphlet that can be summed up in three words: ask again later.”
Scottish Labour also opposed the plans. Deputy leader Jackie Baillie likewise highlighted the lack of consultation: “Almost 60,000 people were consulted by the UK government. How many have the Scottish government consulted?"
She added that people with a vaccination certificate could still have the virus and be infectious, saying ministers were in danger of giving people a false sense of confidence that they were “invincible”.