Scotland's vaccine passport system will not be extended to more venues, following strong opposition from Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The Scottish Government had been considering expanding the scheme to cover cinemas, theatres and other hospitality venues.

However, research by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) found that the plans would lock almost a third of people aged between 18 and 29 out of venues from December.

Earlier today, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that, haven taken into account the impact on businesses, it would not be "proportionate" to do so with case numbers falling.

People will be allowed to present a negative test rather than proof of two jabs to enter venues that are already covered by the scheme from 6 December. These include nightclubs and large events such as some football matches and concerts, and would bring Scotland's system into line with others in countries like Wales.

Reaction

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of AGCC said: “We are pleased that ministers have listened to the strong case we put forward, based on the government’s own evidence paper and the views expressed to us by businesses across the country. I thank them for taking a balanced view of the data and not imposing further restrictions on hard-pressed firms ahead of the critical Christmas period.

“And by announcing that a negative test can be used as an alternative to proof of double vaccination, currently affected venues are effectively now open to everyone.

“Looking ahead, we are hopeful that Scottish Government will continue to work closely with us, Chamber members and our business communities to ensure we get the balance right between public health and enabling businesses and the economy to recover from the crippling effects of the pandemic.

“We have been saying all along that we should trust people and organisations to take personal and corporate responsibility rather than imposing legislation.

"The Chambers of Commerce took a leadership role among business organisations in being prepared to ask the tough questions. We thank our members for their support as, without this, we cannot do the good work we do on their behalf. And if you are not currently engaging with us, we’d love you to join our network!"

Campaign

A poll carried out jointly by AGCC, together with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, found that almost two-thirds of businesses were opposed to further restrictions, with 24% warning of immediate financial peril.

On the strength of the poll, AGCC and SCC made representations to both the first minister and her cabinet colleagues, stating opposition to any further restrictions.

Further representations were made on the back of the government's evidence paper on extending restrictions, which outlined the potential impact on businesses of extending the passport scheme.

Our analysis of the paper was covered widely in the media this morning, ahead of the cabinet meeting which ultimately voted against further measures.

Daily Record - Vaccine passport extension would bar 'one-third of young Scots from pubs'

The Times - Covid-19 vaccine passport extension 'would bar third of young from pubs'

The Press & Journal - Covid passports: One in three Scots face pub lockout this Christmas

The Courier - Covid passports: One in three Scots face pub lockout this Christmas