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Vaccine Certification Introduction Confirmed

Wed 29 Sep 21

Venues will not face legal enforcement in opening weeks.

Higher risk venues covered by the Coronavirus vaccine certification scheme will have two-and-a-half weeks to test and adapt the new scheme in their own premises before the measures are legally enforced.

The scheme will come into effect as planned on Friday 1 October in Scotland meaning people will have to show proof of their status to enter some venues and events. But legal enforcement will not come into effect until Monday 18 October.

People attending a range of late night venues and larger indoor and outdoor live events, such as music festivals or large sporting events, will be required to show staff their COVID status. This will be done via the COVID Status App on their mobile device or using the paper certificate.

Vaccine certification scheme going live

People in Scotland are now being encouraged to download the NHS Scotland Covid Status App from Thursday 30 September, ahead of the vaccine certification scheme going live the following day. People can also use a paper certificate or the downloadable PDF available via NHS inform.     

The Scottish Government today (28 September) published further guidance for businesses and venues on the scheme which will assist them in making the necessary preparations for the scheme coming into force.

There are currently no plans to introduce certification for the wider hospitality industry but this will be kept under review over the autumn and winter months.

Exemptions to the scheme include under 18s, participants in vaccine trials, as well as people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and people working or performing in the venues.

Officials are currently working across the UK to help ensure people vaccinated outside Scotland can still enter the venues affected with proof of their vaccine status.

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.

The two-and-a-half weeks – effectively a grace period – before legal enforcement applies will allow businesses to test, adapt and build confidence in their own practical arrangements to comply with the scheme.

We know from expert public health analysis that we must do all we can to stem the rise in cases and reduce the pressure on the NHS.

Vaccine certificates have a role to play as part of a wider package of measures. They add 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 that helps to incentivise that is helpful.

Scotland is not unique in introducing such an approach. Certification schemes are in place across Europe, including Ireland and France, and the Welsh Government is also planning similar measures.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister

Background

The NHS Scotland Covid Status App will be available for download from NHS Inform.

Proof of vaccination will be required to enter:

  • 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

No personal data is stored on the NHS Scotland Covid Check app.  

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