First Minister Mark Drakeford went ahead of Boris Johnson, who is only keeping the policy in reserve as a ‘Plan B’ for England if cases surge this winter
Vaccine passports will be needed to enter nightclubs and attend large events in Wales, the First Minister has announced.
Mark Drakeford said people will have to show an NHS Covid Pass from next month as part of measures introduced to help control the spread of coronavirus.
It means Wales is now ahead of England in implementing vaccine passports after Boris Johnson’s plans to do so were derailed by Tory anger.
Instead vaccine passports are relegated to the ‘Plan B’ in the winter plan for England, used at a week or more’s notice if cases surge.
Venues can already choose to ask for proof of vaccination. Under Wales’ plans as well as England’s Plan B, they could be made a mandatory condition of entry, with venues forced to ask for them by law.
In England they would apply to all nightclubs, indoor crowded settings of 500 or more attendees, outdoor crowded settings of 4,000 or more people and any setting of 10,000 people or more.
Rates of Covid-19 are currently very high in the Wales, but the alert level will remain at zero for the next three weeks, Mr Drakeford confirmed.
He also encouraged everyone to work from home whenever possible and to make sure they are fully vaccinated.
Awareness and enforcement of other key Covid-19 protection measures, including face coverings in indoor public places and on public transport, will be increased.
Mr Drakeford said: “Across Wales, coronavirus cases have risen to very high levels over the summer as more people have been gathering and meeting. Tragically, more people are dying from this terrible virus.
“The very strong advice we have from our scientific advisers is to take early action to prevent infections increasing further.
“The last thing we want is further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again. That’s why we must take small but meaningful action now to control the spread of the virus and reduce the need for tougher measures later.”
Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)
The requirement to show an NHS Covid Pass will come into force from October 11 and it will mean all over-18s will need to have one to enter nightclubs, indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people and any setting or event with more than 10,000 in attendance.
Mr Drakeford said people who are fully vaccinated in Wales can already download the NHS Covid Pass to securely show and share their vaccine status.
It also allows people to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.
The First Minister added: “My message to you today is a simple but serious one – the pandemic is not over and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
“We have high levels of the virus in our communities and while our fantastic vaccination programme has helped stop thousands more people from becoming seriously ill or dying, the pressure on the NHS is increasing.
“We hope introducing the requirement to show a Covid pass will help keep venues and events – many of which have only recently started trading again – open.
“Showing a Covid pass is already part of our collective effort to keep businesses open with some major events, such as the successful Green Man Festival, using it.
“We will continue to work closely with all businesses affected to ensure a smooth introduction and operation of this system.
“We want to do everything we can to keep Wales safe as we head into the autumn.”