'Complete and utter nonsense' - Sheffield landlords give their verdict on vaccine passports to pub plan

The news that pub goers could be required to prove they have had their Covid-19 vaccination has sparked debate in Sheffield.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:15 am

As we move closer to the next set of coronavirus restrictions being lifted on April 12, a review looking into whether those wanting to go to the pub should have to prove they have had their Covid-19 vaccination has got underway.

Only brief details have been released so far, but it has been suggested the decision may be handed to individual landlords.

The issue has divided opinion in Sheffield

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Manager of the Crookes Social Club, Maurice Champeau, said the proposals are “complete and utter nonsense.”

"There are people who can’t have it for medical reasons, there are people who won’t have been vaccinated by April 12 or May 17, are we going to stop these people from going to the pub? Why does it have to come down to pub landlords to police the medical needs of the nation,” said Maurice.

He added: “Our industry is in enough trouble as it is, and has got a massive recovery to get through first.”

Maurice said that if the decision was left to him he would not refuse those who have not been vaccinated entry to Crookes Social Club, which is based on Mulehouse Road.

Nick Simmonite, Chair of Unight

Commenting online, Paul Day said he was in favour of vaccine passports because everyone will be offered a jab: “Choose not to have it, choose not to go places. This thing is killing people. Selfish people, professional moaners. I’m sick of it. Look someone in the eye who’s lost someone and then see the pain,” he said.

Nick Simmonite is Chair of Unight, a not-for-profit organistion which represents Sheffield’s nighttime economy, and says the hospitality industry has continued to “jump through hoops” throughout the coronavirus crisis.

He thinks Sheffield has a hospitality industry to be proud of and believes those working within it will comply with whatever legislation is brought in, but says he is worried about the consequences of keeping young adults, who will be the last group to receive their vaccination, away from licensed pubs and bars.

“My fear is if you exclude young people from what the rest of society is doing you will have illegal gatherings, which is much riskier,” said Nick.

Liz Aspden, Landlady of the Harlequin pun

He added: “We sell alcohol which is strictly regulated. We study for years to be able to offer this in an extremely safe environment.”

Star reader Andy Cutts said he would support vaccination passports in pubs if it meant the end of restrictions.

“Don't have a problem with it if it means pubs can open without masks or other restrictions,” Andy said in an online comment.

Liz Aspden, Landlady of the Harlequin pub on Nursery Street said she thought forcing pub punters to have vaccination passports would be an “over stretch.”

Beer gardens are set to reopen in Sheffield from April 12

"I can see the value of compulsory vaccinations for people working with the vulnerable in care homes, hospitals, etc but going to the pub is a social activity, and at some point we have to let people make their own decisions about their own levels of risk,” said Liz, adding: “It also raises the question of whether all bar staff will have to prove they've had the vaccine before being allowed to work.”

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said the introduction of vaccination passports should be given careful consideration.

“I think it’s right to look at the issue of vaccine certificates very carefully, focussing on the need to reduce Covid transmission while opening up society.

"There are practical issues which have led the World Health Organisation to caution against their use, but I do understand that many people may want assurance that they will be safe from catching the disease in enclosed places.

"This will be particularly important for the limited groups of people who have been advised by the NHS not to have a jab. So we mustn’t rule out anything, but must consider all the evidence on the issue carefully before reaching a view,” Mr Blomfield said.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.