Scots will now be legally required to present proof of their coronavirus vaccination status before entering a number of venues from today.
Affected businesses were given a two-week grace period to trial out the so-called vaccine passport scheme at the beginning of this month.
Until now, businesses did not face enforcement action for not implementing the scheme – but that has all changed from today.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The grace period allowed venues and businesses affected more than two weeks to test the scheme in practice and make suitable arrangements. It has also provided the Government with helpful feedback from the sectors affected and we continue to liaise with them going forward.
“This is a very limited scheme and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.
“This virus has not gone away and vaccine certification will have a role to play in keeping transmission under control as part of a wider package of measures. It adds a further layer of protection in certain higher risk settings.
“I also want to ensure that as many people get vaccinated as possible and particularly to increase uptake in the younger age cohort, so anything to incentivise that is helpful.”
Here are five important things that Scots must remember before heading out to certain venues from now on.
1. Rule becomes law from today
Door staff at the affected venues will be allowed to knock back customers if they have not received both coronavirus vaccines or are unable to show evidence of their double-jabbed status.
Failure to have such a system in place would see premises committing an offence.
Local authority officers will have the powers to enforce the vaccine passport scheme in a “proportionate, risk-based manner”, according to the Scottish Government.
There is currently no legal responsibility of customers in following the scheme, but door staff will be legally entitled to refuse entry.
However, anyone who is found to be falsifying information will be in breach of the law.
2. Where the law applies
Scots will have to show their vaccine passport when entering the likes of nightclubs, football stadiums and concert venues under the new rules.
The full list of venues that will now have to enforce the scheme includes:
- Late night venues open after midnight with alcohol and music and dancing
- Unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience
- Unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience
- Any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance
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3. How to download your vaccine passport
A PDF copy of the document can also be found by logging into the NHS Inform website. A username for the website should have been given on the first vaccination appointment.
Anyone who has been vaccinated in other NHS health boards in the UK will be able to get the details of the vaccine status on their relevant apps – i.e. the NHS App for England and Wales and Covid NI app for Northern Ireland.
4. How you can access the vaccine passport without a smartphone
Anyone who is unable to get the use of a smartphone or cannot download a PDF copy, then you can request a paper version of the vaccine certificate.
A paper copy can also be accessed through the NHS Inform website.
Some Scots are not required to show evidence of both vaccinations, according to the Scottish Government guidance.
Exemptions from the scheme include:
- People who are under 18
- People who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons
- People taking part (or have taken part) in a vaccine trial
- Employees and volunteers working at the venue or event
- Emergency service responders and relevant regulators in the course of their functions
The Scottish Government says that it is the responsibility of venue organisers and staff to request the appropriate proof of exemption as part of the scheme.
Evidence of exemptions include:
- Proof of age
- A medical exemption certificate
- An exemption certificate showing the person was/is part of a clinical trial
- Evidence of employment at the venue or event
6. Get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already
The Scottish Government hopes that the introduction of this scheme will boost the number of Scots vaccinated against Covid.
Scots are able to visit a number of walk-in clinics across the country to get their first or second dose of the vaccine.
Everyone is then given an appointment for their second dose after receiving the first – which comes generally eight weeks after the first jab.
Information on local drop-in clinics can be found here.