Casinos in England won’t be asking customers for proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 after the government performed a U-turn on Sunday.
Although vaccine passport plans in England have always been somewhat vague, Health Secretary Sajid Javid had earmarked nightclubs as places where they would need to be shown. Javid also considered making them a condition of entry for hospitality venues where large gatherings were possible.
Casinos in England not only have large gaming floors where crowds of people congregate, but bars, theatres, and restaurants. As such, there was a possibility that COVID vaccine passports would be introduced at the end of September. That won’t happen now. Javid told BBC journalist Andrew Marr on Sunday that plans to enforce proof of vaccination for hospitality venues have been shelved.
Javid nixes nightclub vaccine passports
The Night Time Industries Association welcomed the news, saying that vaccine passports would have crippled the hospitality sector and put venues at risk of discrimination lawsuits. Javid previously said vaccine passports were necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, thanks to an increasing number of young adults getting vaccinated, they won’t be required at this stage.
“We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid said on the Andrew Marr Show.
Casinos in England have been opposed to making proof of vaccination a condition of entry since April. The Hippodrome Casino in London, along with representatives for the Broadway Casino in Birmingham and Cardiff’s Rainbow Casino, signed the Open for All Charter.
The public document is a demonstration of the hospitality sector’s objection to vaccine passports. As stated, the charter is for those who “do not believe it is right” to “demand to see proof [of someone’s] medical records or health status.”
Casinos in England won’t follow international precedent
The public opposition to vaccine passports from casinos in England isn’t shared by their international counterparts. Venues in France and the Czech Republic, including King’s Resort, are currently asking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. In Canada, Playground Poker Club is following the WSOP and taking a hardline approach whereby only the vaccinated can ante up. For the time being, at least, casinos in England won’t be under any such instructions.
Should owners wish to ask for proof of vaccination or a negative test, they can. Dusk Till Dawn is set to reopen in October and owner Rob Yong has already floated the idea of a certification system, though a final decision on the matter hasn’t yet been made.
What we do know is that the government won’t be making vaccine passports mandatory for nightclubs or other entertainment venues. Moreover, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly against imposing another lockdown in England. A “senior government minister” told the Telegraph that Johnson is “dead set” on avoiding another lockdown and believes that we need to “learn to live” with COVID-19. The virus remains a threat, but the vaccine rollout in the UK has been hailed as a success.
Almost 90% of the adult population in England has received one dose of vaccine, while over 80% have received two. That’s helped to keep daily deaths from rising sharply, despite an increase in positive tests.
Life is far from normal, but it’s moving in the right direction. Although the government has made a number of U-turns over the last 18 months, the message now is that casino-goers can visit their favorite venues without showing they’ve been vaccinated.