Nightclubs ‘singled out again’ amid Covid passport proposals

A nightclub boss has said he is 'dismayed' the Scottish Government did not consult the night time sector.

Nightclubs ‘singled out again’ amid Covid passport proposals iStock
Nightclubs: Night time sector 'singled out again'.

A nightclub boss has said he is “dismayed” that the night time sector has been “singled out again” after the First Minister announced plans to introduce vaccination passports in Scotland. 

Brian Fulton, operations and finance director at Holdfast Entertainment Group which owns the Cathouse and the Garage in Glasgow, said the decision to use passports to prove people have been double vaccinated should have been introduced at the same time as the UK government. 

“I’m a bit dismayed at the fact that we couldn’t have done this back when the UK government decided to do it,” he said.

“It doesn’t give us any time to plan, we’ve got so many questions in relation to it.

“We’ve just got back open after 520-odd days closed and we’ve reorganised things with our suppliers and landlords and now we’re going to have to go back and do that again, because the numbers we thought we’d be getting have now been halved. 

“In Scotland we’ve got lots of different types of bars and entertainment venues so it just seems that we’re singled out yet again and the Scottish Government doesn’t seem to understand the sector.”

On Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that vaccine passports would be required to enter nightclubs and large-scale gatherings. 

As Covid cases in Scotland continue to rise, it is hoped the introduction of passports could help to control the spread of the virus heading into the autumn and winter.

The introduction of the passports is subject to a debate and vote at Holyrood next week and would not come into effect until everyone has been offered two doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Vaccine passports would be required for entry into nightclubs, as well as indoor live events with more than 500 people unseated and outdoor live events with more than 4000 people unseated.

Mr Fulton said he was concerned that late night venues weren’t consulated before the plans were announced, and feared nightclubs would be hit the hardest by the plans. 

“I understand the need to tackle the pandemic and them looking at the vaccine passports as an option for that, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have consulted with us before this,” Mr Fulton said.

“I think realistically for us, if it’s nightclubs that have to have a vaccine passport, if you’ve got six people out on a night out and one of them hasn’t been double vaccinated yet then they’ll just go to a late night bar and won’t come to a nightclub.”

“I just wish the Scottish Government would actually work with us to help us continue to contribute to society,” he added.

“We pay a lot of tax, we employ a lot of people, if they would just actually discuss it with us and consult with us, it would make life so much easier.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We completely understand how difficult it has been for the night time industries over the course of the pandemic, they have felt the impact of restrictions more than most.

“Given the large rise in case numbers and in order to avoid re-imposing restrictions, if parliament agrees, we feel now is the right time to introduce Covid vaccine certification to see us through the autumn and winter months.

“We will continue to engage with the industry on implementing a robust, effective and proportionate certification scheme to be in place later this month.”