The manager of four Southwark pubs reopening in April has spoken out against the possible “vaccine passports” Prime Minister Boris Johnson floated last week, writes Kit Heren…
Johnson told a House of Commons committee that pubs could avoid social distancing measures in future through testing and asking punters to show some kind of proof that they have been vaccinated or have had the virus and so may have a degree of immunity.
Industry groups slammed the proposals as “unworkable”, although no decision has been made yet on any of the measures and Johnson said the choice to enforce this kind of programme could be left up to pub landlords.
And Isaac Tooby, co-founder and director of Parched Pubs, which runs the White Horse and the Montpelier in Peckham as well as the Roebuck in Borough, and is soon to take over the Grove House in Camberwell, said he would not be in favour of the idea.
“It would be very difficult for pubs to enforce, I think, ” he told the News. “It could be easy to fake documentation. With all the the things pubs have gone through over the past year, we don’t need the extra costs that it would mean.”
Various outlets have reported that one of the ideas the Government is exploring is adding a “Covid-19 passport” function into the existing NHS app – which could mean lower costs for individual pubs.
But Tooby, who stressed that he is “pro the vaccine” himself, added that any vaccine passporting for pubs could also be a problem on civil liberties grounds.
“Would I want people who are not into the vaccine to not be able to come in? I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to say to people that they can’t come to our pubs, especially younger people who haven’t had the chance to have a vaccine yet.”
Tooby added that he would be in favour of any measures that would let pubs reopen fully and safely. As things currently stand, pubs are set to reopen outdoor areas on April 12 and indoor areas with restrictions on mixing on May 17.
All social distancing rules are due to be lifted on June 21, although the government has long said the timetable could change if the Covid-19 situation in the UK worsens.
Industry group the British Institute of Innkeeping slammed the idea of vaccine passports and urged the government to stick to the June 21 date for the end of social distancing.
Boss Bill Dalton said: “The recovery of our nation’s economy will rely heavily on our vibrant and vital sector, which contributes almost £60 billion to the treasury each year.
“To introduce this unworkable solution at a point where our pubs need to be open and trading freely and fully, will seriously endanger the survival of our pubs and materially damage the communities, high streets, livelihoods, suppliers & brewers and local employment that rely so heavily upon them.”
One poll suggested that Brits generally support the idea of a vaccine passport during the vaccine rollout. A YouGov survey from the start of March showed almost six in ten were in favour. More than three in ten were against the idea.
The White Horse, the Montpelier, the Roebuck and the Grove are all due to reopen their outdoor areas on April 12, Tooby said.
All four are looking busy for the first few weeks but there are still spaces to be booked.
Book here: http://parchedlondon.co.uk/