Everything you need to know about Covid passports

The hospitality and culture industries continue to be hit hard with punters cancelling their plans due to fears over the spread of the Omicron variant.

Restaurants, pubs, theatres and music venues are reporting mass cancellations or no shows costing them huge amounts of money at a crucial time of year.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists people should not cancel Christmas parties or other plans but be "cautious".

On top of the uncertainty, the hospitality trade must now check the covid status of customers.

Covid passports became mandatory on Wednesday 15 December 2021 and venues across Doncaster are busy rolling out the new government requirements.

Business Doncaster appreciates the strain this has put on some venues, and the uncertainty created through measures passed in the House of Commons, but we want to assure businesses relating to the evening economy that we will continue to assist them throughout this period.

Here is the latest bulletin from our licensing team providing more specific details and guidance for different business premises: admin/resources/licensing-bulletin-8.pdf

Here is what you need to know if heading out in Doncaster over the festive period:

  • Covid status checks are mandatory for venues such as nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques, and ‘other late night venues’, regardless of whether they are hosting an event or how many people are attending.
  • ‘Other late night venues’ are where all of the following apply: the venue is open between 1am and 5am; and it serves alcohol after 1am; and it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing); and it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
  • A covid passport is likely to be required in most venues across Doncaster.
  • Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques must carry out checks on every person before they can enter.

For other venues, such as indoor or outdoor sport stadiums, conference centres and exhibition halls, live music venues, theatres and concert halls, COVID-19 status checks are only required where they are hosting an event which meets the relevant attendee threshold.

Events which may be subject to checks include: entertainment or performance events, sporting events, celebrations and social events and conferences, trade shows, presentations, business exhibitions, receptions and award shows.

The thresholds are:

  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals and events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

Venues will need to ensure they have the NHS COVID Pass or have valid proof that they have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours.

Doncaster is recommending that venues should use the free NHS COVID Pass Verifier App to check NHS COVID passes wherever possible to ensure they are valid and have not expired and reduce the possibility of fraud.

Those not using the NHS COVID Pass and showing alternative proof of a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test taken within the past 48 hours must have reported their test result to NHS Test and Trace. They will then receive a text or email notification that will be checked as a condition of entry.

In some circumstances, some venues and subject to approval, may use the 'spot check' system rather than check the Covid status of everyone attending an event. This would be for example, larger events where the majority of attendees are likely to all arrive in a short space of time, and attempting to use checkpoints would lead to a crowd gathering outside the venue or event.

Here is a suite of downloadable, easy to use resources for venues where proof of COVID status is mandatory as a condition of entry. The resources include social media materials along with posters, website banners, email signatures and window or door stickers: https://www.nhsx.nhs.uk/covid-19-response/mandatory-certification-toolkit-for-venues-in-england/

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