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Vaccine passports could fuel Covid and cost sites millions, leaked government report says

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Vaccine passports could fuel the spread of Covid-19 by encouraging people to go to poorly ventilated pubs instead of large venues, the government’s own impact assessment has warned.

The policy would also reduce turnover for event organizers required to use vaccine passports and require the hiring of thousands of new stewards, which could be difficult to deliver, it was concluded.

The Telegraph saw an internal analysis of the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 certification, written by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports [DCMS].

Across the 13 pages, marked “officially sensitive” and dated early September, are a series of concerns about how the policy works and its chain implications.

A section of the impact assessment answers the question of whether the policy could have “displacement effects to other types of sites not included for certification”.

The document reads: “There is a potential shift between live event venues and hospitality venues. One of the main concerns in the industry is that certification could shift activity and business from concert halls to, for example, pubs with overdue music and liquor licenses, etc., which could be counterintuitive and potentially counterproductive.

He continues: “Likewise, if the certification moves some fans from structured and well-ventilated sports stadiums, it could lead them to frequent unstructured and poorly ventilated pubs, where they will have access to more alcohol than if there is. had in stadiums. . Evidence for the euro showed spikes in cases associated with pubs even when England was playing abroad. “

Decreasing number of cases

Boris Johnson has said Covid-19 certification – under which people would have to show proof of two shots of Covid-19 before entering a location – could be adopted in England as part of his ‘plan B’ to combat any outbreak of Covid-19. fall and winter, although no final decision has been made.

The number of new cases of Covid-19 in the UK fell on Monday, with 36,567 registered against 39,962 on Sunday.

According to government proposals, Covid-19 certification would be required in indoor environments with 500 or more attendees, outdoor environments with 4,000 or more attendees, any venue with 10,000 or more attendees, and nightclubs.

Scotland has already adopted a vaccination passport program. The first weekend of its application has been called a “total disaster” by the Scottish Hospitality Group.

The impact assessment says more than 5,700 additional stewards would need to be hired in large stadiums if participants were to have their proof of Covid-19 vaccines verified, with doubts being raised as to whether this is feasible.

Adopting the system during Premier League matches could lead to ‘bottlenecks’ outside stadiums, meaning not everyone’s Covid-19 status would be verified, he warns.

It has also been estimated that the turnover of the affected sites could drop to between £ 345m and £ 2.067bn if Covid-19 certification takes place.

Potential positive impacts

Some potential positive impacts are also noted, with referenced opinion polls showing that more people would feel safer attending such events if Covid-19 certification were adopted.

The disclosures – the first time the government’s private assessment of how vaccine passports will affect the economy and society has been made public – are likely to be skipped by critics.

DCMS sources did not dispute the accuracy of the document. A spokesperson said: “There is good evidence to suggest that certification would have a beneficial impact on infection rates and also avoid the need for capacity caps or closures.”

The certification setup analyzed by the document is largely the same as the one on which the government called for evidence last month, although it considered whether to apply the rules at the 10,000 or 20 stages. 000 participants. Ministers adopted the old definition.

The scale of the challenge of implementing Covid-19 certification is clearly indicated in the document.

About six million checks would have been needed in October if the system had been in place then.

Each vaccination passport control can take between a minute and a half and two minutes, depending on the actual data in the field. For stadiums with 10,000 or more fans, an additional 5,700 stadia should be hired.

“Some sites (eg Premier League clubs) have stated that they are limited by the location of their stadiums, and coupled with throughputs, the risk of bottlenecks is too great to make certification checks 100% % logistically possible “, a line in the document reads.

Fear of “dangerous” situations

Another explains how Premier League clubs are already doing ‘spot checks’ on Covid-19 certification and mentions fears of ‘dangerous’ situations that could be exacerbated if introduced for all participants.

The key line on spot checks reads: “Considering the existing queues and the high throughputs at the PL [Premier League games] this clearly adds to the queue pressure, potentially making PL games dangerous and very difficult from an operational point of view.

“If this were increased to force each participant to be checked, it would have significant impacts on the operational viability of the matches. “

Introducing Covid-19 certification would cost the Royal Albert Hall around an additional £ 1,050 for each event it hosts, according to estimates in the document. Meanwhile, each Premier League club are expected to pay around £ 285,000 extra per season in stewardship fees.


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