Responding to the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 update and confirmation of additional settings where vaccine certification will be required, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“The Scottish Government’s vaccine certification proposals were confusing when they were first brought forward and the proposed scheme as it stands today goes well beyond what was initially proposed.
“The criteria and definition now set out by the Scottish Government will, unfortunately, by default, extend to many of our hotels, pubs, major sporting events and other hospitality and tourism businesses. Thousands of these businesses will now be caught up in vaccine certification rules, with little time left to understand, plan and implement them before the deadline of the 1st October 2021.
“Industry associations and businesses have been attending meetings with Government officials in an attempt to identify and resolve issues with the scheme. We have made it clear that the practical application of what is being asked is not workable in the timelines being proposed. In addition, there are still no details around enforcement and it is becoming clear that the Scottish Government expect businesses to bear the burden of implementation costs, without any financial support whatsoever.
“Scotland’s economy remains fragile, and many businesses remain in survival mode. There is no doubt that vaccine certifications will serve as an economic deterrent. We have offered to work with the Government to help design appropriate solutions which will save jobs and save businesses, whilst continuing to encourage as many people as possible to get the vaccine.
“Businesses will not be prepared and ready for the 1st October and we ask again for a rethink.”
On International Travel Restrictions, Dr Liz Cameron said:
“The changes announced by the First Minister will be welcome with the green and amber lists being merged from 4th October. This is the right step towards fully re-opening Scotland’s international travel sector.
“The Scottish Government, however, must come to a swift decision on the future of international travel restrictions, specifically around the continued need for Day 2 PCR testing for fully vaccinated travellers, which will be removed in England and has the potential to cause serious economic harm to Scotland’s travel, tourism and hospitality sectors and the broader business community.
“A four-nations approach to re-opening Scotland’s international travel sector is essential to supporting Scotland’s aviation sector and Scotland’s economic recovery. Without alignment, Scottish airports and businesses will miss out on vital trade and business as passengers seek out more cost-effective and less restrictive travel options south of the border.”