Sturgeon confirms vaccine passport scheme will not be extended to more venues

Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme will not be extended to cover more venues, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The First Minister said her Cabinet considered widening the scheme to cover theatres, cinemas and and hospitality venues but decided this would not be “proportionate”, given its impact on businesses.

Vaccine passports came into effect in Scotland in October and require nightclubs and large venues to only allow entry to people who can show they have been double jabbed.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs this will remain the case for at least the next three weeks but that, from Monday, a negative lateral flow test will also allow entry.

She said: “This was a very finely balanced decision.

“However, I can confirm that at this stage we have decided not to extend the scope of the scheme.

“We have taken account of the fact that – although our situation is precarious – cases are currently stable and indeed slightly declining, and we have considered the inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the operation of businesses and concluded that, at this stage, extension would not be proportionate.

“We were also mindful of the need over the coming weeks of getting across the message that it is important to be vaccinated and tested ahead of socialising in any setting – including in homes and shopping centres, for example – not just in those that might be covered by a certification scheme.”

She confirmed there will be no further changes to remaining Covid-19 regulations, such as mask-wearing and home-working.

She also urged those eligible to get fully vaccinated if they have not already done so – including booster shots.

Opposition parties and business leaders previously raised concerns over the vaccine passport scheme, with the Scottish Liberal Democrats calling for it to be abolished.