“The last straw” for pubs in the UK is what Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin called ‘vaccine passports’. He isn’t alone: Nick Mackenzie of Greene King condemned mandatory vaccination for pubs as “impractical” and possibly “discriminatory.”
This stance, however, goes against the results of a recently released YouGov poll which showed that 56 percent of Britons believe that gyms, bars and pubs should only be open to those with a ‘vaccine passport.’
Domestic versus International ‘Vaccine Passports’
‘Vaccine passports’ are, and have always been, mired in controversy. A potential ticket from lockdown limitations, some laud them as a ticket to revived international travel. For others, they would mean a longer sentence for many younger people, locked in to protect the most vulnerable age groups from coronavirus. The conversation originally anchored itself in reopening international travel, but has reached domestic hospitality industries, public transport, and access to gyms.
Prioritising older age groups for pub entry
‘Vaccine passports’ were originally framed as a way to resurrect the moribund global travel and tourism sector, which was decimated by the pandemic and stringent restrictions on movement across borders. As travel expert Simon Calder explains, the vaccine rollout prioritises those most at risk of serious illness from coronavirus. This encompasses, for the most part, older age groups and the clinically vulnerable. Therefore, ‘vaccine passports’ will largely exclude younger people, or “heavily disenfranchised younger travellers,” as they wait for their jab.
This is the sentiment attached to solidifying rumours of ‘vaccine passports’ becoming a necessary accessory not just for international travel, but a must-have for beer gardens and bars. This comes with an age caveat: the YouGov poll has shown that 76 percent of the 65-and-over age bracket support the requirement of ‘vaccine passports’ for public spaces like pubs, whereas only 48 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds agreed.
‘Vaccine passports’ will hover in public debate as the lockdown restraints are loosened, with inevitable fissures between the jabs and jab-nots. As we wait with bated breath to sip cider in a beer garden, ‘vaccine passports’ gain an extra edge when it comes to who can, and who can’t, order a pint.