COVID Vaccination Passports and Retail


Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that the UK was moving towards a system of vaccine passports, although certain “essential areas” of life would be unaffected by it.

A government spokesman has since confirmed that such passports would not be needed when non-essential retail reopens across England and Wales next Monday, but Government has hinted that COVID vaccination passports may be needed for customers to enter some shops later this year.

The British Retail Consortium has criticised the proposals. Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said:

“While COVID status certification may play an important role in certain activities, such as international travel, our members are clear that it would not be appropriate or useful in a retail setting,” 

“High streets and other shopping destinations rely on impulse and ad hoc purchases from customers who visit; this would be badly affected by the additional barriers to trade.

“Instead, we believe that continuing to follow the existing strict safety protocols, including regular cleaning, face coverings, and regular hand washing are the best course of action to protect staff and customers in stores.”

The MIA are supporting the BRC in this view. Executive Director Anthony Short commented;

“The evidence we have to date is that where retail has been allowed to be open, it has been a safe environment with low levels of COVID transmission.” 

“Our members have worked very hard to ensure all possible precautions to minimise the spread of the virus have been implemented, including many businesses operating activity by appointment.”

“The MIA is concerned about the impact such a scheme would have on Music Stores, particularly if it undermines the practices that have already been adopted, and proved to be effective.”

The Department for Health and Social Care stated in a media release on 26th March

Even after vaccination everyone must continue to follow the rules – remembering Hands, Face, Space – as it may still be possible to pass the virus on to others after having the jab.’

There is no certainty at this stage that having a vaccination prevents the passing on of the virus. A certification scheme could easily lead people to think that vaccination prevents transmission and negates the necessity for established precautions. People could be lulled into a false sense of security.

We will of course keep you updated on any developments concerning COVID Vaccine Passports in a retail setting.