Boris Johnson has suggested that some pubs might require customers to produce vaccine certificates, an idea that he had previously deemed unlikely.
Almost 29 million people have received their first vaccine dose in Britain already in the fastest rollout in Europe, and there have been calls to open up the economy faster because of the success of the vaccination programme.
Appearing before a committee of senior lawmakers, Johnson said the ‘basic concept of a vaccine certification should not be totally alien to us’, citing how surgeons were required to have a Hepatitis B shot.
Asked whether ordinary citizens going to the pub might need one, he said: ‘I think that that’s the kind of thing that may be up to an individual publicans, it may be up to the landlord.’
He told the committee the public had been ‘thinking very deeply’ about such issues.
Boris Johnson has suggested that some pubs might require customers to produce vaccine certificates, an idea that he had previously deemed unlikely
‘My impression is that there is a huge wisdom in the public’s feeling about this,’ he said.
‘People, human beings, instinctively recognise when something is dangerous and nasty to them, and they can see that COVID is collectively a threat and they want us as their government, and me as the Prime Minister to take all the actions I can to protect them.’
Pictured: How a vaccine passport could look
Last month when he outlined England’s ‘roadmap’ out of the coronavirus lockdown, Johnson ruled out any government-led vaccine passport scheme, although ministers have said that some certification might be needed for international travel, while it is considering whether care home staff must have shots.
‘What I don’t think we will have in this country is, as it were, vaccination passports to allow you to go to the pub, or something like that,’ he said in February.
He has since mandated senior minister Michael Gove to review the role that vaccine certification can have in society, including the reopening of hospitality venues, saying there were deep and complex ethical issues to explore.
Britons are already gearing up for their first taste of post-lockdown freedom next Monday when they can finally meet friends and family in gardens and parks as the ‘rule of six’ returns outdoors.
Fridges are being piled high with beers and party food in anticipation of big barbecue reunions when friends and family can finally clink glasses and celebrate seeing each other for the first time in more than three months.
The Government has said outdoor gatherings including in private gardens of either six people – known as ‘the rule of six’ – or two households will also be allowed from next Monday, making it easier for people to meet outside.
People are seen drinking inside the Red Lion pub in London on March 20, 2020
Drinkers outside a pub in Soho, London, on the first day after the city was put into Tier 2 restrictions, October 17, 2020
There is expectation of a very good week of weather too, with the Met Office forecasting mild temperatures next week in southern England with high pressure building which will bring settled conditions for most areas.
It comes ahead of the third stage of rules easing on April 12, which will include the reopening of pubs and restaurants outdoors, non-essential shops, public buildings and outdoor attractions including theme parks.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen from next Monday, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
But up until then the rules remain – including for this weekend – that people can only meet one other person from outside their household or support bubble socially or for exercise, and this must be away from their home.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will also end next Monday, but the Government has advised that people continue to work from home where they can and ‘minimise the number of journeys they make where possible’. The advice from next Monday will be to ‘stay local’.
An attendee from Hartlepool receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine at the Riverside Stadium Vaccination Centre on March 22, 2021 in Middlesbrough
A man walks past temporarily closed shops and a pub in Camden Town, an area of London usually bustling with tourists and visitors to its market, during England’s third national lockdown
Britons are also still warned to avoid travelling at the busiest times and routes, while travel abroad will still be banned, other than for a small number of exceptions such as attending a funeral of a close family member.
The Government announced on Monday that anyone trying to leave the UK ‘without a reasonable excuse’ will be fined £5,000. Ministers have launched a taskforce to review global travel which will report on April 12.
This is also the date when hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen outdoors-only, along with outdoor attractions like theme parks. Indoor hospitality is not set to return until May 17 at the earliest.
How will lockdown be eased in the UK until end of June?
Step One Part One: March 8
From March 8, all pupils and students returned to schools and colleges across England.
So-called wrap-around childcare was also allowed to resume, paving the way for after and before school clubs to reopen.
People were allowed to meet one other person outside for recreation, for example, to have a picnic or to meet for coffee.
Care home residents were be able to have one regular named visitor.
The Government’s stay at home order remained in place, with travel for non-essential purposes still banned.
Step One Part Two: March 29
From March 29, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed. These gatherings will be allowed to happen in private gardens.
Outdoor sports like tennis and basketball will be allowed to reopen and people will also be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
It is at this point that the Government’s stay at home guidance will end, to be replaced by ministers encouraging people to ‘stay local’.
However, the Government is expected not to define what constitutes local, instead choosing to rely on people using their common sense to decide on journeys.
People will still be told to work from home wherever possible while international travel will still be banned unless it is for essential purposes.
Step Two: April 12
Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen as well as personal care premises like hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.
Public buildings like libraries, museums and art galleries will be allowed to welcome back customers.
Meanwhile, hospitality venues and outdoor attractions like theme parks will be given the green light to reopen in some form.
However, there will still be rules on household mixing: Essentially any activity which involves being indoors will be restricted to members of the same household.
Gyms and swimming pools will also reopen from April 12 but only on the basis that people go on their own or with their own household.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen but at this point they will only be able to have customers outdoors.
The Government will not be bringing back the old requirement for people to order a substantial meal with alcohol while the old 10pm curfew will be ditched.
All customers at hospitality venues will also have to be seated when they order food or drink, with ordering at the bar prohibited.
Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen but trips must be restricted a single household.
Funerals will be allowed to continue with up to 30 people, while the rules on wedding receptions will be eased to allow the number of guests to increase from six to 15.
Step Three: May 17
The two household and rule of six requirements for outdoor gatherings will be ditched but gatherings of more than 30 people in places like parks will still be banned.
Crucially, mixing indoors will be allowed again. The rule of six or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed to meet.
However, this will be kept under review by ministers to see if rules could be relaxed still further.
This is also the point at which pubs and restaurants and other hospitality venues will be able to open indoors, with the rule of six and two household limit in place. But groups meeting outdoors at pubs will be allowed to be bigger.
Entertainment venues like cinemas and children’s play areas will be able to reopen, as will hotels and B&Bs. Indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.
Changes will also be made to sporting and performance events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full