Covid passes for large events and nightclubs become compulsory in Wales today
People in Wales will need to show a Covid Pass or demonstrate their Covid status to enter venues such as nightclubs and large events from today, Monday October 11.
Last week members of the Senedd voted – by a margin of 28 to 27 to introduce Covid passes however a technical issue meant an opponent could not cast his vote.
Vale of Clwyd Conservative Gareth Davies was attending the Conservative party conference in Manchester at the time of the vote on Tuesday.
He blamed unspecified “IT challenges” for his inability to take part remotely as the passes were approved by a single vote.
The Senedd Presiding Officer Elin Jones said Mr Davies had been given several opportunities to be present, even offering her phone number to allow him to dial in.
The law change today means all adults over-18 will need to show an NHS Covid Pass or a negative Covid test to enter certain premises.
People will need to show their COVID19 status to attend the following venues or events:
- nightclubs and similar venues (see definition below)
- indoor venues with more than 500 people in the audience where some or all of the audience are not normally seated
- any outdoor or indoor venues with over 4,000 in the audience, where some or all of the audience are not normally seated
- any event, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance
These settings are classed as “higher-risk” premises and events because “it is not as easy to introduce reasonable measures, such as ventilation or social distancing to mitigate against the risk of coronavirus.” Welsh Government guidance has said.
“There is also some evidence of so-called super spreading events associated in the UK and globally with nightclubs, sports events, and festivals.” The Welsh Government says.
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.
Only people attending these venues and events will need to show their Covid status. Staff working or volunteering in these venues are encouraged to take lateral flow tests twice a week to check they do not have the virus.
Nightclubs and similar venues
Welsh Government guidance states: “The requirement to check individuals’ COVID passes will be required in nightclubs and places where music is provided for dancing – but only if they are authorised to serve or supply alcohol and are open at any time between midnight and 5 am.”
“This means that a pub, for example, with a dancefloor that starts to play music from 3pm onwards and closes after midnight would be required to implement the COVID Pass for entry from at least 3pm (earlier if those who enter early will still be there when the music starts).”
“However a pub with a dancefloor which closes before midnight would not have to implement the COVID Pass requirements to enter (unless they are holding any type of unseated event for more than 500 people).”
“Likewise, a pub that does not have a dancefloor and are not providing music for the purpose of dancing will not be required to implement a COVID Pass requirement to enter – unless they are holding an unseated event for more than 500 people, then they would be captured by that particular provision and would be required to check individuals COVID passes)”
The Welsh Government says it will use “current enforcement regimes” for monitoring compliance – this means businesses and events will need to ensure their proposed arrangements to comply with the Covid pass regulations are included in their risk assessments, and reasonable measures to ensure compliance.
Penalties for non-compliance will include:
- a premises improvement notice or premises closure notice;
- a fixed penalty notice and a maximum fine for businesses of £10,000.
- In addition, it is now an offence for a person to provide false or misleading evidence of vaccination or testing status where that evidence is required as part of the requirement for holding a Covid pass.
Anyone caught using a fake Covid pass or lateral flow test result in Wales will be fined from Monday, the Welsh government has confirmed.
“A wider offence linked to the provision of false or misleading evidence of vaccination or testing status where that evidence is required as part of the requirement for providing evidence for entry has also been introduced.
Where there are reports of individuals providing falsified or misleading information, a police officer or a police community support officer (PCSO) will be able to take action under the Regulations.” Guidance states.
Speaking to BBC Wales’ Vaughan Rodderick on Sunday, First Minister Drakeford was asked, “how much slack” would venues be cut in terms of doing random checks rather than checking every single pass if large queues build.
He replied: “What the regulations say is that the venue has to take reasonable measures to put in place checks that people entering premises are eligible to enter and reasonable measures will vary from venue to venue and event to event.”
“Regulations allow event organisers to do random checks where it would not be sensible to try to check the pass of every person going in.”
“My view of it is this, where you have a venue or event and it is clearly doing its best to do the right thing but is having some teething problems, of course, you will allow that venue or that event to continue to work on making sure the pass is properly administered.”
“Where there are venues that, clearly, because they are outside the law or attempting to get around the law, then from an enforcement point of view, a different approach will be taken.”
Commenting on the introduction of the new rules, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:
“While we remain at Level 0, new restrictions are coming in as the coercive, ineffective, and anti-business Covid passports will limit our freedoms, fail to limit the spread of coronavirus according to the Welsh Government’s own scientists, and add additional burdens on already stretched businesses.”
“There has been a poor communication campaign from the Welsh Government on their introduction, little justification of their effectiveness, a failure to address confusion and fix bugs, and no explanation on how they will police the alternative Covid test system so open to abuse.
“We have passed the peak of infections without further restrictions and passports will do little to stem the problems that has led to the worst-ever A&E waiting times, longest ever NHS treatment backlog, and second slowest ambulance response times built up under Labour mismanagement.
“So instead of further restrictions, we need Labour ministers to bring forward a proper winter pressures plan that introduces the Covid treatment hubs for which Welsh Conservatives have long called for and reverse their damaging decision to bring in Covid passports.”
- Get your NHS COVID Pass – click here
Use the NHS COVID Pass to attend large events and venues – click here
- COVID Pass: guidance for businesses and events – click here