Theatre News

UK government to conduct review of vaccine passports for entering venues such as theatres

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will lead the investigation

Playhouse Theatre
Playhouse Theatre
© WhatsOnStage

The Prime Minister has revealed that minister Michael Gove will lead an investigation into the use of vaccine passports.

Speaking this morning, Boris Johnson has highlighted that "deep and complex" issues exist around the introduction of such verification – and that Gove will examine the "best scientific, moral, philosophical, ethical viewpoints".

Johnson said: "We've never thought in terms of having something that you have to show to go to a pub or a theatre…we can't be discriminatory against people who for whatever reason can't have the vaccine, there might be medical reasons why people can't have a vaccine."

Many have voiced concern over the ramifications of such passports, with vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi warning that they could be "discriminatory".

What is more likely is that "Covid status certification" (a term used by the Prime Minister last night) might include both vaccination details or proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

The Prime Minister said that it is likely that some countries will introduce vaccine passports for international travel, though has said that there is currently less of a push for this in the UK.

He also expressed optimism about the easing of restrictions by the target date of 21 June, though stressed that the relaxation of rules will depend on the progress of the vaccination programme.

A pilot scheme is set to take place in April to see what measures may need to be put in place to mitigate risk for large-scale events without social distancing.

West End venue owner Nica Burns said last night that: "Theatres are an organised place – we are comfortable with making things work." She noted that when people were booking for shows with social distancing punters had to fill in a form online to state that they weren't Covid positive. She added: "We are very confident that we can make anything that fits with DCMS and for those who aren't vaccinated, we are happy to do rapid testing."

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