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COVID passes for nightclubs and large events implemented in England

It comes as part of the government's 'Plan B' approach in tackling the new Omicron variant

By Tom Skinner

A stock photo of a night club
(Picture: Press)

People in England must now present a COVID pass to enter nightclubs and certain venues.

The new measures are effective from today (December 15) after MPs voted them through the House Of Commons on Tuesday (December 14).

Under the rules, over-18s are required to show proof of their COVID status in order to gain entry to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people (via the BBC).

People can either confirm they are double vaccinated against coronavirus, had a negative PCR or lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours, or have an exemption, to attend events in such establishments.

This can be done via the NHS Covid Pass app or through a text message or email from NHS Test And Trace.

Additionally, bars and pubs with a dancefloor will need to check customers’ COVID status – but only after 1am, according to the government’s website. This also applies to punters who entered the premises before that time and stay there until the early hours.

The site gives the following example: “A bar is open throughout the day and stays open later than 1am. It meets the criteria for mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass (because it provides music and a dancefloor, serves alcohol, and stays open later than 1am).

“The manager is not required to check the COVID-19 status of anyone who leaves the venue before 1am but must take reasonable measures to ensure that everyone who remains in, or enters, the premises after 1am has the NHS COVID Pass (or other accepted evidence).”

Ninety-nine Conservative MPs voted against the introduction of COVID passes, which is the biggest rebellion prime minister Boris Johnson has faced since taking office. The plans went through due to support from Labour.

COVID passes are already in use in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The new restrictions in England, which are part of the government’s ‘Plan B’ approach, come amid a rise in cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus. Last week (December 10) face masks became mandatory in certain settings, including cinemas, theatres, shops and on public transport.

Yesterday, the UK recorded 59,610 new COVID infections and 150 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

The government is calling for everyone to come forward for their coronavirus booster jab, with 513,722 doses being administered on Monday (December 13). Over-30s can now book their third jab via NHS England (via GOV.UK).