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The Autumn and Winter Plan 2021, published on 14 September, sets out the government’s aims to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure. If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the government has prepared a Plan B for England.
The government set out its intention that vaccine certification could form part of a Plan B, however, final decisions on the policy have not been made. Under Plan B, in certain settings:
The government invites responses to the detail on the proposed certification regime which could be introduced as part of Plan B. The government is particularly interested in views from businesses, event organisers and venue operators, including from those that have experience of using certification on a voluntary basis over the summer, and on the proposals for the workforce.
The government invites submissions of evidence, and is also engaging with stakeholder representative groups. This opportunity for engagement will enable the government to take into account relevant comments and views, making any warranted revisions.
Responses are requested by 11 October, although the government says stakeholders should submit views as quickly as possible in case there is need to introduce certification, as part of Plan B, at short notice. If Plan B is implemented, it could be at short notice in response to concerning data. The government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.
The government says it intends to take a proportionate approach, balancing the impact on public health with the economic and social impacts by focussing on settings where crowds mix and come into close contact. Mandating vaccine-only certification could allow settings that have experienced long periods of closure to remain open and is preferable to closing venues entirely or reimposing capacity caps or social distancing.
Under Plan B, the government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification for visitors to venues and events, and vaccine-or-test certification for the workforce would be introduced for the following venues and events:
There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, such as:
Do you think that the list of settings is too narrow or captures too many settings?
If you said the list is too narrow, which settings should also be in scope of certification? (maximum 150 words)
If you said the list captures too many settings, which should be excluded from certification? (maximum 150 words)
Visitors and staff
Which of the following best describes your opinion about the COVID-19 vaccination status of people who choose to attend venues and events where certification would be required, if Plan B is implemented?
To what extent do you agree or disagree that visitors to venues and events where certification would apply should be required to be fully vaccinated to enter, unless they are exempt?
To what extent do you agree or disagree that people working at the venues and events where certification would apply should be required to be fully vaccinated or test regularly to enter, unless exempt?
Do you think unvaccinated people working at venues to which certification would apply should be supervised or unsupervised when taking regular tests?
Do you think that everyone working in venues to which certification would apply, or only those in customer-facing roles, should be required to show they are vaccinated, exempt or being testing regularly?
Please provide any additional comments you have on requirements on people working at venues where certification would apply. (maximum 500 words)
There will be a small number of exemptions.
The following have an exemption from vaccination, which they will demonstrate through the COVID Pass or international equivalents:
The following have an exemption from certification:
Do you think other groups should be exempt from requirements?
If yes, please give reasons for your answer. (maximum 150 words)
Are there any groups, particularly those with protected characteristics, that you think would benefit from vaccine certification becoming mandatory in the settings listed? (maximum 150 words)
Are there any groups, particularly those with protected characteristics, that you think would be placed at a disadvantage from vaccine certification becoming mandatory in the settings listed? (maximum 150 words)
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. We welcome any further comments you may have relating to this consultation. (maximum 500 words)