Will the government U-turn again in England?
Sometimes you just need to get up and boogie – ask newly promoted government minister Michael Gove who was filmed recently strutting his stuff in an Aberdeen nightclub. Well, only days after deciding that Covid passports would be needed to enter a nightclub, the government did a complete U-turn and said they wouldn’t after all be required – in England. For now. Scotland and Wales have recently introduced Covid passports, meaning that new Housing Secretary Mr Gove may need to sashay south of the border next time he wants to slip into his boogie shoes, take to the floor and dance – maybe to some House music. passport
Just a week before the about turn, the then vaccines minister, now Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, said the passport plan was the “best way” to keep the nightclub industry open. Clubbers would need to show proof – either of vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive test – to gain entry to a club, disco or other crowded event. But then Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that whilst the passport scheme will be kept in reserve as a potential option, after looking at the idea “properly” it wasn’t necessary at this time.
Mr Javid also denied that the government was “running scared” as regards the passport plan, following wide criticism from many of its own backbenchers, and from figures and organisations within the industry. To prove the point, the government issued the proposal for Covid passports in England again as its “plan B”. So while it’s rock on for now in England, the disco scene is less definite in other parts of the UK. Scotland introduced vaccine passports from 1 October, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying it will be the least restrictive way of keeping people safe. Implementation was chaotic and opposition to the scheme has grown. In Wales, Covid-19 passports were introduced in early October, while ministers in Northern Ireland have not yet announced a definite policy on the idea.
Our survey threw up close overall numbers on the concept of having to demonstrate proof of Covid-19 status before being allowed into nightclubs, with 47% saying “Yes”, 43% answering “No”, and 10% replying “Don’t know”. Probably unsurprisingly, the younger groups were generally less keen on the idea than older members of our society. However it wasn’t all one way, even amongst the youngest group, with 36% of the Gen Z saying that “Yes” they should have to prove their Covid-19 status in some way and 47% replying “No”.
The government’s decision to reverse the passport policy in England met with cautious overall approval by most generational groups, with once again, most support coming from the youngest group, the Gen Z. Overall thought, it appears that not everyone across the UK is dancing in the streets at the decisions taken so far.