NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

People must show an NHS Covid Pass or demonstrate their vaccination status to enter nightclubs and attend large events in Wales from today.

The move means all over-18s need one to enter nightclubs and indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions.

They will also need the pass to attend outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people and any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

People will also be able to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

But those who fake a coronavirus test result or vaccination status will be committing a criminal offence and face a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will be reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – but the fine will double if it is not a first offence. 

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

Revellers queue outside the Peppermint nightclub on Wind Street in Swansea on August 7

The legislation was passed in the Senedd last week despite opposition from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh Conservatives accused the Government of of a U-turn on the matter, saying First Minister Mark Drakeford had previously been against the idea. 

What are the new rules in Wales on showing an NHS Covid Pass? 

From October 11 all over-18s in Wales must use the NHS Covid Pass to show that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative to attend large events, nightclubs and other similar venues.

This applies to:

  • nightclubs and similar venues
  • unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people in the audience
  • any outdoor or indoor venues with a capacity over 4,000, including seated venues
  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance

To get into these venues you will need to prove one of the following two:

  • You are fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  • You have tested negative for Covid-19 (lateral flow test taken 48 hours before event or attending venue)

You can use the NHS Covid Pass, or test results emailed or sent by text message are also considered proof of a negative test.

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Wales is facing some of the highest infection rates since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly among young people.

First Minister Mark Drakeford conceded today that there was a ‘vulnerability’ in the Covid Pass system which has been introduced in Wales.

Asked on Good Morning Britain about the possibility of people falsifying lateral flow test results, he said: ‘This is a vulnerability in the scheme.

‘We have created a specific offence which will mean that if someone deliberately falsifies the result of a lateral flow test they will be breaching the law in Wales.

‘The broader point for me is that we have literally thousands and thousands of people taking lateral flow tests in Wales every day of the week – they’re not doing it in order to evade the law they’re doing it to make sure they themselves are safe from coronavirus and they’re keeping other people safe as well.

‘I’m quite sure that the huge bulk of people who are attending a rugby match or visiting a nightclub will use the lateral flow devices in exactly this way – not to get round the rules but to make sure they’re keeping themselves safe from this dreadful disease.’

He added: ‘Is it vulnerable to people who want to abuse the system, that’s why we’ve created an offence to make sure people understand if that’s what they try to do, the law will be there and there will be a reckoning.

‘The offence is there to deter people – that is the main impact of it. It says to people ‘this is a serious matter and you you need to take it seriously’.’

Mr Drakeford added that one of the purposes of the scheme was to help nightclubs stay open over winter.

He said that nightclubs and other similar venues already have experiences staff checking people as they enter for proof of age.

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford at the Labour party conference in Brighton last month

He told Good Morning Britain: ‘If we see rising numbers of coronavirus in Wales – and we have high numbers already in the community – then the first places that will have to close will be the highest risk venues.

First Minister admits ‘vulnerability’ in Covid Pass system in Wales 

First Minister Mark Drakeford conceded that there was a ‘vulnerability’ in the Covid Pass system which has been introduced in Wales.

Asked on Good Morning Britain about the possibility of people falsifying lateral flow test results, he said: ‘This is a vulnerability in the scheme.

‘We have created a specific offence which will mean that if someone deliberately falsifies the result of a lateral flow test they will be breaching the law in Wales.

‘The broader point for me is that we have literally thousands and thousands of people taking lateral flow tests in Wales every day of the week – they’re not doing it in order to evade the law they’re doing it to make sure they themselves are safe from coronavirus and they’re keeping other people safe as well.

‘I’m quite sure that the huge bulk of people who are attending a rugby match or visiting a nightclub will use the lateral flow devices in exactly this way – not to get round the rules but to make sure they’re keeping themselves safe from this dreadful disease.’

He added: ‘Is it vulnerable to people who want to abuse the system, that’s why we’ve created an offence to make sure people understand if that’s what they try to do, the law will be there and there will be a reckoning.

‘The offence is there to deter people – that is the main impact of it. It says to people ‘this is a serious matter and you you need to take it seriously’.’

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‘Having the Covid Pass there will help them stay open during the autumn and winter – that is the purpose of it, not to be an extra burden on them or to single them out, but to protect them so they can go on operating successfully as we go into what is going to be a challenging time of year.’

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

Mr Drakeford added: ‘Coronavirus has not gone away, it remains a significant threat in the community.

‘We are doing what Sage recommended to us – take early action, take the least intrusive action and build your defences against what otherwise may be more significant actions that would need to be taken.’  

Only people attending the 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.

Workplaces are required by law to undertake Covid risk assessments, and to put reasonable measures in place to ensure staff safety.

Economy minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘Our fantastic vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength but the pandemic is not over.

‘Cases remain high across Wales and, unfortunately, families across the country are losing loved ones to this awful virus.

‘The clear advice from our scientific advisers is that we need to take early action now.

‘The Covid Pass is just one of a series of measures in place to help prevent people spreading and catching coronavirus while helping to keep the economy open.

‘None of us want to see further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again.

‘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.

‘Together, if we all continue to follow the clear guidelines we’re all used to by now, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep Wales safe.’

The Welsh Government will use the current enforcement regimes for monitoring compliance.

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

Wales is facing some of the highest infection rates since the beginning of the pandemic

A premises could be issued with an improvement notice or closure notice, while a fixed penalty notice and a maximum fine for businesses of £10,000 can be issued.

Conservative health spokesman Russell George accused the Welsh Government of a U-turn having previously ruled out introducing them.

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

In this illustration, a woman holds an iPhone with a NHS Covid Pass in Cardiff last week

‘I just do not think that we should become a checkpoint society by introducing a vaccine passport,’ Mr George said in the Senedd last week.

Plaid health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said his party was not against the principle of Covid passes but took issue with the proposals in their current form, including the use of lateral flow tests.

‘We’ve asked many questions and haven’t been given assurances that we have sought, and it is for that reason that we feel unable to support these regulations,’ he said.

Bruno Costa, the general manager of Tiger Tiger in Cardiff, a 1,800-person club and bar, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘I don’t think it will be that difficult.

‘Our procedures are quite extensive. We check ID on everyone, we search everyone, so we will check this Covid pass as well.

‘It’s not convenient for people to go through the website or the app, but once you do it you come over and I’m sure it will be quite smooth.

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

, NHS Covid passports compulsory in Wales TODAY, The Today News USA

Economy minister Vaughan Gething said the Covid Pass is one of the measures in place to help ‘prevent people spreading and catching coronavirus while helping to keep the economy open’

‘I’m not sure if people will welcome the idea but it is what we must do in order for us not to close, and if that’s the requirement that the Welsh government have then that’s what we will do.’

‘We don’t mind being checked. We take the regulations quite seriously, so we keep good relationships with police, licencing and all authorities, so there will be no reason for stress.

‘I suppose the higher the cases are, the more restrictions will come to us. But the most important thing is that we continue trading.

‘Closing will affect many people, many families, people that work here with us, suppliers, people that work for the suppliers, all these people depend on these businesses to survive.’

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said yesterday that he expects the Covid Pass, working from home, and the mask mandate to continue into next year.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC, he said: ‘Mask-wearing in crowded public places, continuing to ask people to work from home, a Covid Pass for high-risk locations – that is the suite of measures we hope will see us through this autumn and winter without needing to do anything else, but I do expect they will continue into the early part of next year.’ 

Speaking last month, the Night Time Industries Association Wales said it was disappointed with the decision.

‘We are disappointed that the Welsh Government has felt it must mandate Covid passports at this stage, albeit a more liberal implementation with the inclusion of testing,’ a spokesman said.

‘We still feel that these measures will have a negative impact on businesses, and will create considerable market distortion.’