Where can vaccine passports be used? Poll says where Brits want them

Where SHOULD vaccine passports be used? YouGov poll reveals more Britons want Covid IDs in place for entering gyms, pubs and cinemas than visiting GP

  • Fifty-six per cent of respondents want the vaccine certificates to be put in place for those wanting to work out
  • While only 43 per cent say they should be needed at medical centres, the YouGov survey tweeted today said
  • Over half – six in ten – said they would support the plans and more than a quarter said that they strongly back it
  • However 34 per cent said they were against the plans to use the system as Britain edges closer to freedom

More Britons think vaccine passports should be brought in for people using gyms than those visiting hospitals or GP surgeries, a poll has found.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents want the certificates to be enforced for those wanting to work out while only 43 per cent say they should be needed at medical centres, the YouGov survey said.

Over half – nearly six in ten – said they would support the plans and more than a quarter – 28 per cent – said they would strongly back the idea.

But 34 per cent of the country said they were against the idea of using the system as the country edges closer to freedom on June 21.

It comes as the row over the possible use of vaccine passports surged in recent days amid fears the government will force some industries to require them before they accept customers.

Boris Johnson told MPs yesterday landlords might be given powers to impose tough entry requirements on drinkers – and Government sources confirmed this was part of an official review of the certificates.

But industry bosses across Britain today said the idea was ‘absurd’ and ‘unworkable’ and signalled they would not ask customers for proof that they had been inoculated or were clear of coronavirus.

They were joined by backbench Conservative MPs including deputy chairman of the 70-strong Covid Recovery Group Steve Baker who branded the idea a ‘ghastly trap’.

Meanwhile a separate poll for MailOnline found 59 per cent of people would back and 19 per cent would oppose businesses such as pubs using vaccine passports.

Elsewhere in the Covid crisis:

  • The UK and European Commission told of working together to improve their relationship over the pandemic;
  • The joint statement came after Brussels published details of a plan to restrict jab exports to Britain;
  • Angela Merkel apologised to Germans after reversing an Easter lockdown announced only 24 hours earlier;
  • England’s top doctor called on over-50s to book a jab while they still could access one;
  • India said it was blocking all major exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine;
  • Mr Johnson warned that tougher border measures could be introduced ‘very soon’ for arrivals from France;
  • MPs prepared to vote on the extension of emergency coronavirus powers for several months;
  • Seven in ten Covid patients still suffer debilitating symptoms five months after their discharge from hospital.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents want the certificates to be enforced for those wanting to work out while only 43 per cent say they should be needed at medical centres, the YouGov survey said. Pictured: A pub in London in November

Over half – nearly six in ten – said they would support the plans and more than a quarter – 28 per cent – said they would strongly back the idea. Pictured: Kensington Leisure Centre in December

The YouGov poll found a plan to bring in vaccine passports during the rollout was backed by voters – 64 per cent of Tory supporters, 60 per cent of Lib Dems and 55 per cent of Labour fans.

But those against the system are mainly among the younger generation who are less likely to have had their Covid jab yet.

In the 18 to 24-year-old category, the survey found 45 per cent were in favour, while 42 per cent were against. But this changed when asked if they would support it after everyone was jabbed, with the figures shifting to 60/27.

The wider public reacted similarly, with support swelling to seven in ten – just 20 per cent against – a vaccination scheme when everyone has been offered.

How a coronavirus vaccine passport for Britons could look 

The figures do not vary much when Britons were asked if they backed the controversial idea of vaccine passports for those coming to the UK – with 65 per cent in favour but 35 per cent saying it could be ignored if they isolate.

The survey also broke down which activities people think should require some sort of Covid vaccination certificate once jabs have been offered to everyone. 

Two thirds of those asked – 72 per cent – said those wanting to see people in care homes should be forced to carry proof of immunisation.

But a surprise feature at the top of the list was gyms, which 56 per cent – more than half – said should only be open to people who are jabbed. The figure was the same for pubs and bars.

Slightly fewer people think the same for restaurants – 53 per cent – while just 44 per cent think proof of a jab should be required for coffee shops and only 33 per cent for beer gardens.

Meanwhile more than two in five asked in the YouGov poll believe a vaccine should be needed to be allowed to use public transport.

Supermarkets – 31 per cent – and garden centres – 29 per cent – are the places people are least likely to think jab passports should be required.

Those aged 65 and above tend to be the most in favour of public spaces using vaccine passports – 76 per cent of this group supports vaccine passports for pubs and bars, compared to 48 per cent of 18-24-year-olds.

While Britons are broadly in favour of a vaccine passport system, the public tends to want whatever system is put in place to be government-run.

Some 58 per cent are opposed to private companies being allowed to develop their own vaccine passport systems during the vaccine rollout.

This figure drops to 49 per cent who would be opposed to private systems after it has finished, although even then only a third of Britons (35 per cent) would be in support.

Drinkers outside a pub in London’s Soho on October 17, 2020, the first day after the capital was put into Tier Two restrictions

Landlords and brewers today revolted over plans for vaccine passports for pubs after it was revealed hospitality venues could be allowed to bar customers who cannot prove they have had a Covid jab or a negative test.

Mr Johnson told MPs yesterday landlords might be given powers to impose tough entry requirements on drinkers – and Government sources confirmed this was part of an official review of vaccine passports.

The Prime Minister said today that the scheme would not apply on April 12, when outdoor hospitality reopens, adding that it might only be possible to implement it ‘when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine’.

But industry bosses across Britain said the idea was ‘absurd’ and ‘unworkable’ and signalled they would not ask customers for proof that they had been inoculated or were clear of coronavirus.

Among them was Jonathan Neame, chief executive of the Kent-based Shepherd Neame pub group, who said he would not make having had a coronavirus vaccine a mandatory condition for people to enter his pubs.

How will the lockdown be eased in England?

Step One Part One: March 8

From March 8, all pupils and students returned to schools and colleges across England. 

So-called wrap-around childcare was also allowed to resume, paving the way for after and before school clubs to reopen.

People were allowed to meet one other person outside for recreation, for example, to have a picnic or to meet for coffee. 

Care home residents were be able to have one regular named visitor. 

The Government’s stay at home order remained in place, with travel for non-essential purposes still banned.

Step One Part Two: March 29

From March 29, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed. These gatherings will be allowed to happen in private gardens.

Outdoor sports like tennis and basketball will be allowed to reopen and people will also be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

It is at this point that the Government’s stay at home guidance will end, to be replaced by ministers encouraging people to ‘stay local’.

However, the Government is expected not to define what constitutes local, instead choosing to rely on people using their common sense to decide on journeys.

People will still be told to work from home wherever possible while international travel will still be banned unless it is for essential purposes.

Step Two: April 12

Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen as well as personal care premises like hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.

Public buildings like libraries, museums and art galleries will be allowed to welcome back customers.

Meanwhile, hospitality venues and outdoor attractions like theme parks will be given the green light to reopen in some form.

However, there will still be rules on household mixing: Essentially any activity which involves being indoors will be restricted to members of the same household.

Gyms and swimming pools will also reopen from April 12 but only on the basis that people go on their own or with their own household.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen but at this point they will only be able to have customers outdoors. 

The Government will not be bringing back the old requirement for people to order a substantial meal with alcohol while the old 10pm curfew will be ditched.

All customers at hospitality venues will also have to be seated when they order food or drink, with ordering at the bar prohibited.

Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen but trips must be restricted a single household.

Funerals will be allowed to continue with up to 30 people, while the rules on wedding receptions will be eased to allow the number of guests to increase from six to 15.

Step Three: May 17

The two household and rule of six requirements for outdoor gatherings will be ditched but gatherings of more than 30 people in places like parks will still be banned.

Crucially, mixing indoors will be allowed again. The rule of six or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed to meet.

However, this will be kept under review by ministers to see if rules could be relaxed still further.

This is also the point at which pubs and restaurants and other hospitality venues will be able to open indoors, with the rule of six and two household limit in place. But groups meeting outdoors at pubs will be allowed to be bigger.

Entertainment venues like cinemas and children’s play areas will be able to reopen, as will hotels and B&Bs. Indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.

Changes will also be made to sporting and performance events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full.

But Peter Marks, chief executive of the Deltic Group, which is Britain’s largest nightclub operator, said young people would ‘probably accept’ the idea because they already carry ID to get into his venues. 

Pubs could even face a choice between being half-full with social distancing measures in place – or using vaccine certificates so they could open at full capacity, a Government source told The Times. 

It comes just as the vaccine rollout starts to slow because of supply problems. Younger people now face a longer wait and some inoculation centres are already indicating they will close temporarily next month.

Some 28,327,873 adults have had a first dose of the jab, with a further 2,363,684 fully vaccinated. But a shortfall of five million jabs from India and the need to retest 1.7million doses means the rollout will slow down in April.

Scientists could recommend the rollout of vaccine passports to encourage people to get the jab, but there are also concerns that the certificates could lead to indirect discrimination among ethnic groups where uptake is low.

‘Green pass’ vaccine passports have already been rolled out in Israel, which has had a world-beating response to the pandemic with more than half of its 9.2million people already having received both doses of a Covid-19 jab.

Now, Britons desperate for a post-lockdown pint at their local beer garden are facing a huge struggle to get a table when outdoor seating areas reopen from April 12 – with some pubs now booked up for months.

However not all chains are operating a booking system, with Wetherspoon opening 394 of its beer gardens or terraces on a first-come-first-served basis.

It follows the troubled rollout of Britain’s £22billion Test and Trace scheme, with a cross-party group of MPs saying a fortnight ago that there is ‘no clear evidence’ it contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels.

More than a decade ago there was a campaign to stop the Tony Blair government introducing ID cards, which were scrapped by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition in 2010 after being seen as infringing civil liberties.

On Saturday, Ministers announced a move to allow all pubs and restaurants to erect marquees on their property without planning permission to help boost trade – but Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin called it ‘entirely barking’.

Outdoor service is set to resume for pubs on April 12, and the Government plans to progress this to table-only service indoors on May 17, and a full reopening on June 21 when it is hoped all Covid-19 legal rules will be lifted.

Mr Neame, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, said: ‘The whole essence of a pub is that they are diverse and inclusive environments, where everybody, and families in particular, are extremely welcome.

‘I mean imagine a scene where a family is reconnecting for the first time after this crisis, where grandpa’s forgotten his vaccination certificate, mum is pregnant, and the kids are too young to have had it yet. Who’s going to make the judgment on the door to turn away who or what on that occasion? I also think… there are some issues with discrimination.

‘I think it’s absolutely fine to exclude people where there is a situation of bad behaviour or drunkenness, and that’s already enshrined in law, but if you’re going to exclude people for what they are, or what they have not done, that’s a wholly different issue which does touch on discrimination, civil liberties, and in this case data protection issues.’

Mr Neame also said making vaccination a mandatory prerequisite to attend a pub is ‘a fairly poorly thought-out idea’ which could lead to young staff having to deal with intimidation from customers.

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘I’m very concerned about the pressure we put on our young people – 50 per cent of people (working) in pubs are under 25 – you’re going to force them to make some very challenging judgments, because they’re not qualified or trained as door staff, as they might be in the nightclub sector. 

‘So those people might therefore be subject to intimidation, if people think they are being unfairly discriminated against, and then there’s the question about who’s going to enforce this – are police going to do random checks? I don’t think so, I don’t think that’s the society we want.’

He added: ‘This is a fraught with difficulty I think, and it is, in my view, a fairly poorly thought-out idea at this stage.’ 

Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s, added: ‘We do not support this idea. It is unworkable and the Government should stay clear of it. The Government should focus on encouraging people to enjoy their summer holidays in the UK instead of going abroad. 

‘This will be a far greater benefit to the economy than opening up the huge risk of bringing Covid variants back to the UK from abroad. It is exactly how the pandemic came to the UK in the first place. We need to ensure mistakes of the past are not repeated.’

Pub landlady Mop Draper, from The Compass Inn in Winsor, Hampshire, said the plan was ‘unfair’, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘You are excluding probably everybody under the age of 40 because by April 12 not everybody’s going to have had their vaccine, so you really minimise how many people will be having to come out to the pub.’

But she added: ‘I would later on, when nearly everybody in the country has had their vaccine, it would be a sensible thing to do, because you’ve got to protect all your staff, and obviously your customers, but you can’t possibly at the moment because you’re excluding too many people.’  

However Mr Marks told BBC Radio 4: ‘It could work for us, strangely. I know a lot of publicans wouldn’t agree with me because they would hate to have this put on their toes, as it were.

‘But for us, our demographic would probably accept it. It’s a young customer base for us. They already walk around with ID such as driving licence and passports to get into a lot of our venues, and I don’t think they’d have a problem with it.’I’d have one other problem though, and that is that isn’t this going to stick another six to eight weeks on before we get chance to open? But I think it’s a market forces thing for us, to be honest.’

Faversham-based brewer Shepherd Neame has 320 pubs in the South East, including the Old Neptune in Whitstable, Kent

Deltic Group, which is Britain’s largest nightclub operator, owns Pryzm nightclub in Kingston, South West London

William Lees-Jones of JW Lees, which has 42 pubs and hotels, said: ‘Vaccine passports are un-British – the Europeans might carry identity, but we’ve never done it, and I think it brings in a whole new level of bureaucracy.

‘I wouldn’t require my customers to have a vaccine passport. The industry needs to recover, and from June 21 there will be no restrictions in our pubs anyway.

‘We’re happy to show a passport getting on an airplane, it’s reassuring, but the fundamental of a pub is you can walk in, order a drink, and feel at ease. If the Government mandates this, it will be on thin ice.’

Dermot King of Oakman Inns, which has 34 pubs, said his ‘gut reaction’ was that he would not require a vaccine passport, but said he would consider it if it allowed restrictions to be dropped early.

He added: ‘It would be a lot of administration, and undoubtedly we’d have to keep records and send them. If customers felt safer going out and didn’t have to put up with the same restrictions once they’d produced a passport, then it could be worth it. Without those it’s just another barrier.’

Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality insisted that visiting a pub, cafe or restaurant should not be subject to vaccination certification. 

David Davis claims vaccine passports could discriminate against minority communities

Conservative MP David Davis

A former minister has claimed that vaccine passports would be ‘illegal’ and could discriminate against minority communities.

David Davis suggested that any plan could face a legal challenge because it would not be fair to those who are reluctant to take up the vaccine.

The Government is consulting on whether to introduce a certification system which could also include details on Covid-19 test results. Ministers are reviewing whether certificates could play a role in reopening the economy by reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety.

But Mr Davis told MPs: ‘The impact of this would be discriminatory. Under the law, it would be indirectly discriminatory and that is illegal.

‘You may well find, it has been said, that black and ethnic minority communities are less inclined to get vaccinated; well that would be indirect discrimination.’

He said that the Government should be prepared to subject any plans it has for vaccine passports to full parliamentary scrutiny.

Younger people were also less likely to have the jab and ‘some people have ethical or religious objections’, he told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday. ‘There are a variety of good reasons for people not to take a vaccine. I’ve had a vaccine and I think most of the reasons are not ones I would subscribe to. But people have that freedom. What this proposal does is, in effect, coerce those people.’

He said that if the Government decided to introduce the certificates it should be prepared to table a new law which would go through the full scrutiny process of both Houses of Parliament, rather than as a piece of secondary legislation. ‘If we do this it should be primary legislation because it is so serious,’ he said.

The former minister suggested that the move was being pushed by officials in Whitehall who had long backed some form of identity documentation.

‘It seems to me that we are creating a permanent solution for a temporary problem,’ Mr Davis said. ‘We know that Whitehall loves the concept of identity management, loves the concept of having control of this data.’ 

But it would be ‘very antagonistic to our national traditions’ in Britain, he said. 

He also played down the reason for introducing the measures, arguing they were aimed at protecting people who declined the offer of a vaccine rather than society as a whole.

She added: ‘It is simply unworkable, would cause conflict between staff and customers and almost certainty result in breaches of equality rules.

‘Through the success of the vaccine rollout we need to throw off the shackles of coronavirus in line with the Government’s roadmap – not impose more checks on our ability to socialise and do business.’

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘Our sector has already gone to extraordinary lengths to prepare for reopening and we do not believe a requirement for pubs to check whether someone has had the vaccine would be appropriate or necessary.

‘We will continue to work closely with the Government in developing guidelines for a safe and sustainable reopening in April and May.’

And Greg Mulholland, campaign director for the Campaign for Pubs, warned that the idea of pubs policing whether people have been vaccinated was ‘both unfair and also absurd’.

He said: ‘Pubs up and down the country have been without income for many months and already have the real challenge of reopening with restrictions like outdoors only opening and table service, things which make it difficult for many pubs to actually make a living.

‘So to now even suggest that pubs might take on the role of policing whether people have been vaccinated is both unfair and also absurd. 

‘Table service already means pubs having to take on more staff, despite less trade, so to have to take on door staff to check people’s vaccination history would be simply unviable, as well as alienating customers.

‘Pubs and publicans have shown they are keen to help with the fight against Covid-19 and operated test and trace before the UK Government actually got its act together.

‘Licensees and staff are ready to open safely and sensibly get back to being vitally important community hubs, but if the Government really want vaccine passports, then they need to organise this and not try to push the responsibility onto hardworking publicans who still have several challenging months ahead until pubs can open normally again’.

James Almond, whose family runs four pubs around Manchester, said: ‘I don’t think we would be asking people. I’m confident our pubs are safe without the vaccine passport.

‘It’s too offensive, our industry needs to be hospitable to win back confidence and asking for a passport on arrival is not hospitable. You don’t need a vaccine passport to show you haven’t got Covid – the rest of us are walking around without it too.’

Yesterday, Mr Johnson told the MPs that vaccine certification should not be ‘totally alien to us’ – a stance at odds with statements from some of his ministers that Covid passports were ‘discriminatory’.

And speaking to Sky News today, he added: ‘Obviously we’re looking at the issues that are raised by vaccination certification – what can you do?

‘Now, in aviation, clearly there are lots of countries are thinking about using some sort of vaccine passport, and I think that there are three basic components.

‘There’s the vaccine, there’s your immunity that you might have after you’ve had Covid, and then there’s testing. So there are three things that could work together.

‘No decisions have been taken at all. One thing I will make clear is none of this is obviously going to apply on April 12, when it will all be outdoors anyway. So whatever happens on April 12 will be unaffected.

‘All sorts of things are being considered. What we want to do is roll out the vaccine programme and see what that builds in terms of general resistance to the virus. And I do think there is going to be a role for certification.

‘What we’ve said is that we’ll be reporting on the work of the certification group in early April, either on April 5 or on April 12.

‘I think we need to think carefully about the issues – as I’ve said before, there are lots of difficult issues because there are some people who for medical reasons can’t get a vaccination, pregnant women can’t get a vaccination at the moment.

‘You’ve got to be careful about how you do this, you might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccinate passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine.’

The Prime Minister told Sky News: ‘Obviously we’re looking at the issues that are raised by vaccination certification – what can you do?

Boris Johnson spoke about vaccine certificates today while at the Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery in Greenford, West London

‘Now, in aviation, clearly there are lots of countries are thinking about using some sort of vaccine passport, and I think that there are three basic components.

‘There’s the vaccine, there’s your immunity that you might have after you’ve had Covid, and then there’s testing. So there are three things that could work together.

‘No decisions have been taken at all. One thing I will make clear is none of this is obviously going to apply on April 12, when it will all be outdoors anyway. So whatever happens on April 12 will be unaffected.

‘All sorts of things are being considered. What we want to do is roll out the vaccine programme and see what that builds in terms of general resistance to the virus. And I do think there is going to be a role for certification.

‘What we’ve said is that we’ll be reporting on the work of the certification group in early April, either on April 5 or on April 12.

‘I think we need to think carefully about the issues – as I’ve said before, there are lots of difficult issues because there are some people who for medical reasons can’t get a vaccination, pregnant women can’t get a vaccination at the moment.

Battle for the beer garden! Britons are struggling to book tables outside pubs and restaurants amid mass scramble to secure spots for al fresco food and drinks ahead of reopening on April 12 

Britons desperate for a post-lockdown pint at their local beer garden are facing a huge struggle to get a table with some pubs now booked up for months.

Diners are looking forward to when pubs and restaurants are allowed to reopen outdoor seating areas from April 12 as the Covid-19 lockdown begins to ease. But one punter said he had called 20 pubs but ‘none have any space whatsoever’, while another said she could not get a table anywhere in London until late May.

Some workers have even taken April 12, a Monday, off work so they can be the first in – but it is proving hard to get a space for those who have not pre-booked. There have even been claims on social media that some people are selling their pub bookings as the scramble intensifies with less than three weeks to ago.

However not all chains are operating a booking system, with Wetherspoon opening 394 of its beer gardens or terraces from April 12 on a first-come-first-served basis. Other pubs and restaurants have received tens of thousands of bookings ahead of the reopening next month, leaving customers unable to get a table for weeks.

Among those struggling was Adam Bloodworth from London, who tweeted: ‘Just tried to book a pub, and can reveal that the whole *pubs opening on April 12* thing may as well be an illusion if you haven’t already got a booking! I’ve tried around 20 and none have any space whatsoever.’

Carrie Walsh added: ‘Have discovered that every pub garden in London is actually fully booked until late May. What have I been outfit planning for?! Where are us spontaneous and unorganised friend groups supposed to go?!’ She added: ‘I have now discovered that people are SELLING their pub bookings. I’m tired.’

Twitter user Lauren from Lancashire added: ‘It’s mental. We’ve really struggled. There’s a few places saying three or less just need to turn up and they’ll try and accommodate, but the thought of just wandering round trying to get in places is a bit s**t.’

And Tom Naden, who lives in Leeds, tweeted: ‘Is there actually a pub left in town or Headingley that isn’t fully booked for the weekend after April 12?’  

‘You’ve got to be careful about how you do this, you might only be able to implement a thorough-going vaccinate passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine.’

This morning, Labour shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said Ministers should not leave the use of vaccine passports to the ‘discretion’ of pub landlords if they thought it was the right move for public health.

Put to him on Good Morning Britain that scientists might recommend the rollout of vaccine passports to encourage people to take up the offer of a jab, Mr Miliband said: ‘Maybe. I don’t think that’s really the thing that is going to persuade people to get the vaccine.

‘I think we’ve done brilliantly in this country at rolling out the vaccine and people taking up the vaccine and the key thing is a campaign of persuasion for people to take up the vaccine. That is the biggest priority.

‘Now, if the Government has got evidence that this is necessary for people to go to hospitality venues, let’s look at that evidence. That isn’t quite what the Prime Minister said yesterday.

‘And indeed if it was necessary, why would you be leaving it up to individual landlords? If this was really a public health measure, you wouldn’t be saying, ‘Well, it is going to be a landlord discretion’ – you’d be saying, ‘This is the Government’s view, this is what’s safe’. So there are many, many unanswered questions about this.’ 

Conservative MP David Davis claimed that a vaccine certificate plan could see ‘indirect discrimination’ among groups where uptake of the jab is low.

He said: ‘The impact of this would be discriminatory. Under the law it would be indirectly discriminatory and that is illegal. You may well find that black and ethnic minority communities are less inclined to get vaccinated, well that would be indirect discrimination.’

Earlier this week, the former minister told the i newspaper that the plans for vaccine passports were driven by the commercial interests of football clubs and entertainment businesses rather than for the benefit of the public.

Mr Davis, who was at the forefront of the successful campaign to stop the Tony Blair government introducing ID cards in the 2000s, said he feared vaccine passports would be linked to an NHS medical ID card that could contain sensitive information about medical history that would violate people’s civil liberties.

He added: ‘There is a lot of commercial interest pushing this – football club owners, theatre owners. We don’t want to give up fundamental civil liberties to meet their requirements.’

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the Government’s ‘latest wheeze’ on Covid certificates is ‘the worst of all worlds’. He added: ‘As well as burdening struggling pubs with extra cost, the idea that businesses can voluntarily bar certain customers, who may not even have been offered a vaccine, is deeply illiberal.’

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner told his podcast Better Human: ‘We have a long legal tradition in this country that we don’t coerce competent people to have any kind of medical treatment over their objections. There are some controversial exceptions to that around mental health and so.

‘And I think there’s no appetite for mandating vaccines. But there’s a certain point where if you raise the incentives high enough, incentivising starts to edge over into coercion.

‘We have to think about the exact nature of these, the uses of these measures to think about whether we’re edging into something that approximates coercion.’

And Gracie Bradley, interim director of Liberty, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain today: ‘This is a pretty worrying road to be going down, and I think the reality is now the Government has just been flip-flopping.

‘We’ve had yes vaccine passports, no vaccine passports, Ministers contradicting one another. We’ve got a review underway by Michael Gove, but at the same time the Government’s already said oh yes, we’ll use it to open up stadiums, maybe we’ll use it to open up pubs.

‘And I think it’s a real failure of responsibility and it really reminds me actually of the start of the pandemic when the Government told people not to go to pubs, but didn’t tell pubs to close, pub landlords were left in a really difficult position.

An woman from Hartlepool receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine in Middlesbrough on Monday

‘And the reality is with vaccine passports is that there’s really significant human rights and equality issues at play here, and it shouldn’t just be left to individual business owners to try to figure those things out.’ 

And Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, told MailOnline: ‘The Prime Minister is casually steering us into a society that requires papers just to go to the pub. This is a heinous, coercive and discriminatory vision of segregated life after lockdown that millions of us will reject, whether at pub doors or the ballot box.

‘Big Brother Watch will fight Covid passes tooth and nail. To even entertain the idea of a vaccine pass for the pub is Orwellian madness. Boris Johnson has become the most authoritarian Prime Minister in living memory. If he does not draw the line at Covid passports, I shudder to think what’s next.’

Tom Stainer, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: ‘Inviting individual licensees to make a decision on vaccination passports is likely to create confusion among customers and potentially discriminate against those who – at the time pubs are due to reopen – may not have been offered a vaccine.

‘Pubs have already shown they are one of the safest places to socialise and unless the government is offering additional support, or earlier and full reopening, in return for requiring vaccination passports, it’s difficult to see the advantage for licensees or customers.’

Also today, a Government minister suggested that the possibility of allowing the use of vaccine passports to for pubs and other venues was outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s road map for lockdown easing.

Children’s minister Vicky Ford was asked today why Boris Johnson appeared to U-turn on vaccine passports during his appearance before the Liaison Committee yesterday.

She told Sky News: ‘When we set out the road map way back in February to show us the way out of this lockdown, one of the things we said was that there would be reviews of different situations and there was always in that road map a review of the certifications (of having received a vaccine) and use of testing.

‘And that review – which looks at how you would use vaccines, how you would use testing to keep settings safe when we go to that widest reopening – that is due before the fourth stage of the lockdown, so it has always been very clear we would be looking at all the different measures in order to take that really widest step.’

Mrs Ford said she wanted to wait to see the results of the Government’s taskforce review into vaccine passports before expressing an opinion on their use in Britain. 

She told LBC radio: ‘Obviously I want to get back to the pub with my friends as much as everybody else. I know there has been a lot of focus on this today.’

Pressed on whether she agreed with asking people to show a Covid status certificate, she added: ‘I think we need to wait for that review.

‘It has lots of ethical questions, etc, but it is being done, it has been promised that that will be there before that final stage of the lockdown in June.

‘It will look at testing and whether or not you should prove you have been tested recently, as well as other things.’

Covid Recovery Group chairman Mark Harper said the vaccination programme should signal a return to normality rather than lead to people being required to show proof of vaccination to access hospitality venues.

Speaking to Sky News about vaccine passports, he said: ‘I actually agree with the Prime Minister – that is the Prime Minister of February when he said that he didn’t think there was a case for expecting people to show papers to go to the pub and said there were very significant problems with ethical, moral questions about this issue. I’ve heard some heads of pub chains this morning set out some of those significant problems.

‘The key way we are going to deal with this issue is by vaccinating people, and we’ve already almost finished vaccinating, with their first doses, the top nine groups who are most vulnerable, who account for 99 per cent of those who died of Covid and over 80 per cent of the hospitalisations. That’s how we get out of this.’

Yesterday, the Prime Minister was asked about the idea of vaccine passports or certificates being required for entry to a pub at a meeting of the Commons liaison committee. 

He said: ‘That’s the kind of thing – it may be up to individual publicans, it may be up to the landlord. 

‘The basic concept of vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us because when you’re entrusted with the care of a patient and, say you’re a surgeon, you’re expected to have a vaccination against hepatitis B. The principle is there.’

Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the 70-strong Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, urged Mr Johnson to ‘not fall into this ghastly trap’ of demanding ‘papers for the pub’.

He added: ‘The Prime Minister began to tread a dangerous path when he opened the door to domestic Covid certificates. 

‘First they said we’ll need them to watch the football, and today that it may be papers for the pub. Whether the state legislates for it, recommends it, or simply allows it the result will be the same: a two-tier Britain.’

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is considering what requirements hospitality venues could introduce as part of a review into the potential use of vaccine certificates.

It is due to report back in June but a decision could come before May 17 when pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve indoors again.

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