Boris Johnson ditches plans to force customers to show Covid vaccine passport when they visit the pub

BORIS Johnson has ditched plans to force customers to show a vaccine passport every time they go into a pub.

In a major boost for the hospitality trade, the PM will exempt bars and restaurants from new Covid safety rules.

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Only those attending mass gatherings, such as festivals or major sports events, will be required to provide proof of a jab, test or natural immunity.

Landlords, who can reopen outdoors-only a week tomorrow in England, will soon be free to admit anyone who follows existing guidelines on social distancing and mask-wearing.

Boris’s change of heart came after an angry backlash from 72 MPs who branded the idea “divisive and discriminatory”.

But he will tomorrow announce his determination to press ahead with a “vaccine certification” system for larger venues from next month.

NHS chiefs are developing a new app members of the public will have to show to gain access to sports stadiums, theatres, festivals and nightclubs.

Those without a smartphone will get a paper certificate.

The system will be trialled at nine pilot events over the next few weeks, where experts will also explore how high-tech ventilation and Covid tests on entry are working.

Mr Johnson will study the feedback to help decide how to manage other large-scale gatherings as restrictions are lifted.

The PM said: “We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.”

Liverpool will be a key test centre for the opening up of the rest of the country — with four pilot events being held at a comedy club, a cinema, a nightclub and a business conference arena from next week.

And some fans will be allowed at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on April 25, the FA Cup final on May 15 and a semi-final on April 18.

The World Snooker Championship in Sheffield and a mass participation run at Hatfield, Herts, are also involved.

Scientific advisers will use evidence from the nine pilots to assess transmission risks in different settings.

An insider said: “These events will not only be used to try out the new Covid passport.



 

"We’ll have lots of eyes and ears and systems gathering a mass of data.

"What we learn in the next few weeks will be crucial to how we proceed into step three of the unlocking process on May 17.”

A review of social distancing will address a looming decision — how and when the one-metre rule and working for home guidance can safely be lifted.

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