Vaccine passports could drive nightclub customers away to other venues not covered by the scheme, an expert on Scotland’s economy has warned.
Mairi Spowage, deputy director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said enforcing the scheme could distort the after-dark economy.
From October, some venues will be required by law to ensure customers are double-jagged by using apps to check QR codes.
However, the Scottish Government has not yet defined the venues to which the scheme will apply. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted on Friday she feared market distortion could be an unintended consequence of vaccine passports. She said some pubs with dancefloors might get an advantage.
Spowage said: “Some who are vaccine-hesitant, and some who are vaccinated and don’t like the fact they have to prove it, they might decide to go to different venues to avoid restrictions.
“The night-time economy has been the hardest-hit by Covid restrictions. Even when we moved to level zero, nightclubs still weren’t able to open.
“Further restrictions on their use will concern them, as well as the practicalities of being responsible for enforcing these restrictions. It seems a lot to ask of these businesses that have been through so much.”
Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said: “You will get pubs with dancing on their operator’s licence who will put on discos now because they can. People will end up going there instead of nightclubs because they won’t need a Covid passport.
“If I was an event organiser I would consider hiring a local village hall and selling 499 tickets so you don’t have to have a Covid passport to get in because it’s under 500 people.”
As well as nightclubs, vaccine passports will apply to 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 and any event that has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
The Scottish Government said it was “engaging with sectors affected to ensure that a workable and proportionate scheme is developed taking account of a range of issues including the risk of market distortion.”
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