Covid passport app available in Scotland from this week: how will it work?

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Covid passport app available in Scotland from this week
Covid passport app available in Scotland from this week

Scotland’s covid vaccination certificate scheme will come into force at 5am on Friday (October 1). However, there will be a two-week grace period before businesses face enforcement action for non-compliance.

Scotland’s covid vaccination certificate scheme is set to commence this week, starting on Friday at 5am.

Speaking at her covid update today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed: “The certification scheme will apply – as previously indicated – to late night venues open after midnight with alcohol, music and dancing; to live indoor unseated events of more than 500 people; to live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people; and to any event of more than 10,000 people.

“This means that once the scheme starts, anyone over the age of 18, who wants to go to a large event – or to a late night venue – will be required to provide evidence that they are fully vaccinated, or evidence that they are exempt.”

The First Minister also advised the NHS Covid Status App will go live on Thursday, providing a digital record of a user’s vaccination status, including a QR code for each vaccination a person has received.

Significantly, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the Scottish Government is set to allow a grace period of slightly more than two weeks – until 18 October – before businesses could potentially face enforcement action for non-compliance.

Last week she noted that Wales has started a covid vaccination scheme similar to Scotland’s.

Who will be required to use the scheme?

Everyone under 18 will be exempt from the requirement to provide proof of vaccination.

So will those taking part in vaccine trials; the small number of individuals who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons; and those who work at, or perform in, a venue subject to certification.

What do I need to use my vaccination certificate for?

You’ll need to use your vaccination certificate to get into to nightclubs and similar venues; to live indoor unseated events of more than 500 people; to live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people; and to any event of more than 10,000 people.

Certification will be required for any venue that meets all of the following conditions:

it is open between midnight and 5am;
It serves alcohol after midnight;
It provides live or recorded music for dancing; and
It has a designated space – which is actually in use – where dancing is permitted.

Will I need my vaccine to get lunch in a pub?

The First Minister stressed that certification will be required only if all four of those factors apply.

Detailed draft guidance is due to published shortly setting out clearly what each sector needs to do, however last weekend the First Minister said venues will be required to “use common sense”.

Then, she said: “A pragmatic and sensible approach will be taken to each piece of guidance. In legal terms, venues will be required to take “all reasonable measures” to implement the scheme – in plain terms, that boils down to using common sense.

“So, for example, a venue that has a dancefloor operating after midnight – and meets the other criteria – will have to operate the certification scheme.

“They won’t need to check people coming in for a pub lunch twelve hours earlier – that wouldn’t be reasonable.

“But by the evening, it would be reasonable to check customers as they arrive. That’s what we mean by common sense. A pragmatic approach will be encouraged, so that businesses can make sensible judgements.”

How do I get my covid vaccination certificate?

The NHS Covid Status App will be available for downloading from this Thursday, September 30.

The app will provide a digital record of a user’s vaccination status – including a QR code for each vaccination a person has received.

You can also request a paper copy of your vaccination record, with specific features to prevent it from being forged. That paper copy also provides a QR code. So anybody who does not want to use the app will be able to obtain and use a paper copy.

How does the scheme work?

Once the scheme is launched, anyone going to a venue or event which requires certification will be required, if asked, to show their vaccine record.

Venue staff will either scan or visually check your QR code. The NHS Scotland Covid Check app that venues can use is already available for download.

At a venue such as a nightclub, or at a relatively small event, the Government expect that it will be possible to check vaccine certificates for everyone in attendance.

However at larger events, organisers will be expected to carry out a reasonable number of checks.

The First Minister today said: “We have continued to engage with businesses as we have developed the detail of the certification scheme. I understand that many businesses have concerns about certification – however, I am grateful to all those that have nevertheless engaged in these discussions so constructively.

“The Government remains of the view that a targeted certification scheme does have a part to play in driving vaccination rates up as high as possible, and providing an additional layer of protection over the winter months as we seek to achieve the potentially difficult task of keeping Covid under control while keeping our economy fully open.”

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