A GLASGOW nightclub owner has warned mandatory vaccine certification to enter venues would turn Scotland “into a two-tier society”.
Nicola Sturgeon said plans are being looked at after Boris Johnson announced people in England will need a vaccine passport in order to enter nightclubs from September. Nightclubs have been allowed to re-open south of the border.
The First Minister said the idea was “something we’ll be considering” over the coming weeks, but stressed that the policy raised difficult ethical issues.
Donald MacLeod, owner of the Garage and Cathouse clubs in Glasgow, told the Herald’s Brian Taylor Podcast that previous discussions about vaccine certification “were always knocked back”.
He said: “We were very surprised when Boris announced on Monday, and dismayed actually, that it was going to be a mandatory requirement and that testing would not be allowed.
“We were looking to the Scottish Government again for guidance and not getting much.”
Mr MacLeod said the industry was concerned the First Minister “hasn’t ruled it out”.
He added: “We are in very big danger here of turning the UK, on mass, into a two-tier society by bringing this in and excluding those who, for whatever reason, don’t want to get vaccinated and turning them into second-class citizens.
“That is a great danger to democracy.
“If we have to use it, we will – but it would be a beer-stained piece of paper that would have to be produced and photo copiers would be red hot.”
Mr MacLeod also pointed the finger at the Scottish Government for still not allowing nightclubs from opening, despite Scotland moving to level 0 on Monday.
He said: “The curfew was brought in for midnight, we’re still social distancing, there’s still mask-wearing, there is no dancing and no singing allowed and if there’s live music in a place, it cannot be louder than somebody talking.
“The guidance is ridiculous, it’s over the top – it’s not helping people move out of this in any meaningful way.
“As far as nightclubs are concerned, we still have no date. We’re getting told that possibly could go ‘beyond level 0’ on August 9 – but none of us believe that.”
Mr MacLeod was asked if his industry feels let down by the Government.
He said: “There is a great fear that actually the plans have already been written to write us out of the economy and if anything, we won’t get opened until next March.
“I don’t like believing in fairy stories but there’s more and more evidence coming up that that could be the case. I don’t think we’re getting told the truth – I don’t think we’re getting supported enough. 40,000 jobs are at risk and most of our members are £150,000-plus in debt.
“Most nightclubs do not operate just as nightclubs, they operate as live music venues. There is no certainty that we can get open there.
“I personally have 200 shows I’m going to have to move because we’re getting given the guidance . When the guidance does arrive, invariably, it’s a patchwork job and we can’t move forward.”
SNP MP Stephen Flynn, also featuring on the podcast, acknowledged the industry “would want to see things move forward a little quicker”, but added he backed “the cautious and more considered approach” being taken in Scotland.
He added: “As far as I’m aware, there’s been no discussion about writing nightclubs out.
“I think everyone wants to see a situation where the economy is back open and we can do everything that we want to do.”