The British government has not ruled out the possibility that Covid-19 passports will be needed in clothing stores after June 21.
Prime Minister on Covid-19 passports
The government is considering Covid certificates, which indicate whether someone has been vaccinated, recently been tested, or developed immunity through a recent infection, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a decision had yet to be made and that would not come into effect during the next two stages of easing the lockdown in England.
However, when asked if they might be needed in clothing stores after the final easing stage, a Downing Street spokesperson decided not to rule it out.
Speaking to The Independent, they said: “We have been clear that we will not require them as businesses reopen in stages two and three of the roadmap. But again, the Prime Minister was clear that longer term there will some essential services such as essential retail and public transport where they will not be required.”
The government said such certificates could “provide reassurance”, but such a move would be controversial as the Labor Party’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called them “discriminatory“.
He said: ‘I’m not going to support a policy that, here in my Leicester constituency, if someone wants to go into Next or H&M, they have to produce a vaccination certificate on their phone, on an app.”
England’s road to a new normality
England is scheduled to begin Step Two of the lockdown relaxation next Monday (April 12), which will see open-air hospitality, gyms, libraries, all retail stores and outdoor attractions reopen.
If all goes well, Step Three will kick off on May 17 and allow groups of up to 30 people to gather outdoors, hospitality to reopen indoors, cinemas to reopen, and organized indoor sport to restart.
International travel will also be allowed, although there will be numerous restrictions and procedures in place.
Step Four will begin no earlier than June 21, at which time there will be no legal limits on social contact, allowing nightclubs to reopen and large events to take place.
Progressing each step as scheduled depends on the following four steps being met:
- the vaccine implementation program continues successfully;
- evidence shows that vaccines are effective enough to reduce hospitalizations and deaths in vaccinated people;
- infection rates are not at risk of an increase in hospitalizations that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS;
- the risk assessment is not fundamentally modified by new variants;
Tom Ironside of the British Retail Consortium told The Independent: “Having consulted with our retail members, we have concluded that neither voluntary nor compulsory vaccine certificates would be appropriate or useful in the retail setting.
“Vaccination does not guarantee that an individual cannot pass on the virus, and we do not want to create false expectation for costumers.
“Instead, we believe that following strict safety protocols, including regular cleaning, a legal requirement for face coverings and regular hand-washing are the best course of action to protect staff and customers in stores.”