Official guidance published on Friday encourages hospitality destinations to check whether their customers have been fully vaccinated, have natural immunity or have tested negative within the past 48 hours.
The NHS COVID Pass Verifier app – designed to scan a QR code proving one’s COVID status – was released on Saturday, less than 48 hours before restrictions ended on Monday.
Hospitality owners have warned that the measures – if implemented – could create “flashpoints” between customers and employees at a time when businesses are dealing with a workforce crisis, including a shortage of security staff.
A pub landlord was bombarded with online abuse after he banned customers who did not receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Gardeners Arms in Norwich, Norfolk, is considered the first establishment in the country to enforce the rule, and was quickly targeted by anti-vaccine campaigners.
Homeowner Philip Cutter also faced criticism from civil liberties organization Big Brother Watch, which, along with Saga, P&O Cruz and Pimlico Plumber, placed the pub on its Vaccine Passport boycott list.
Group director Silky Carlo urged businesses not to implement the COVID Pass scheme, calling it “a leap towards an exclusionary, population-level digital ID system” and a “security theater that makes no one safe”. described in.
Trade body UK Hospitality said checking the Covid status of customers would put further pressure on businesses that were already suffering from staff shortages.
“It would be impossible to implement without an app, but even with an app it would still be quite difficult,” said director of strategic affairs Tony Sophocles. independent.
“Employees are already going to be the enforcers of the current restrictions, and while the vast majority of customers are great, you get the weirdness that creates problems and our employees are on the low end of it.
“There is also a huge lack of security. We have a workforce crisis anyway, and before you have the pandemic. It’s a difficult situation.”
Mr Sophocles welcomed the government’s decision to make the COVID pass scheme voluntary, but criticized the lack of specific guidance.
“The industry as a whole has invested billions, as a result of which these spaces are probably the safest indoor spaces,” he said. “There are different measures in different places and they are assessing the risk.
“However, there are issues for the government regarding civil liberties and those who don’t want to be vaccinated. What happens to people who can’t have vaccinations?
“If it were legally mandated there would be some real issues, because 58 percent of the workforce is under 35 and therefore wouldn’t have been double-jawed. And that’s before you get to the fact that hospitality is customary on that age group. Depends as.
“As we come out of lockdown, it will be pulling the rug out from under hospitality.”
Pubs, clubs and restaurants across the country are now being left to decide what measures they will keep in their locations from 19 July.
Some locations, such as the Dalton Superstore Club in east London, are introducing COVID Pass checks, which require customers to have been vaccinated via the standard NHS app, their vaccination card or official letter, or through proof of a negative test within the last 48 years. Must show proof. hours.
In Collection Group said it would take a phased approach to return to normalcy “to reassure our guests and teams” at their venues despite the lifting of all restrictions, while the Weatherpoon pub chain said it was still on track and Trace would offer features if people wanted to use it.
“We’re not forcing people to use the NHS app or asking people if they’ve been vaccinated or anything like that,” said Eddie Gershon, spokesman for the pub chain.
Martin Caffrey, Director of Operations for the Federation of Licensed Victims Associations, said: “At some outlets it will be a comfort for customers to know that they are as environmentally safe as possible, although we know it is not possible to eliminate all risk.
“But people with fake vaccination cards can have a problem getting around it and it can be a laborious task at the door to get people to produce their smart phones and go into their NHS apps.”