What Northampton publicans and punters think about the possibility of vaccine passports for pubs

The overwhelming response is not positive towards the idea, however some people are keen to see it implemented

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 6:00 am

A number of Northampton’s pub owners, managers and punters have reacted to the possibility that ‘vaccine passports’ could be needed before customers are allowed to enter pubs.

The issue of whether pub-goers could have to prove they have had the Covid-19 vaccine before they can enter the premises was raised at the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (March 24).

Boris Johnson said the idea ‘should not be totally alien to us’, but that it could be down to ‘individual publicans’.

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Liz Cox who runs the Old Five Bells thinks the idea is a good one. (File picture).
Liz Cox who runs the Old Five Bells thinks the idea is a good one. (File picture).

The option of allowing customers to prove a negative Coid-19 test result is, reportedly, also being looked at.

Now, publicans and pub-goers in Northampton are reacting to the potential measures ahead of the planned hospitality reopening next month.

The owner of McManus pubs, which includes The Sun Inn in Hardingstone, Barratts Club in Kingsthorpe Road, The Thomas A’ Becket and more, has spoken out about the measure.

Gary McManus said: “I’m not keen on the idea.

Owner of McManus pubs believes extensive measures already in place are enough.

“We have enough to do in pubs and we have been closed for long enough and it would be another hurdle to have to deal with.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. We have a lot of measures in place, as well as the vaccines and testing and people using common sense, looking after themselves and keeping distance - that should be enough.

“I think it will be difficult to implement too, not just in hospitality but in supermarkets and shops too.

“A lot of people will have had the vaccine and we have all got to get on with our lives now.”

Terry Steers who runs St Giles Ale House will not be implementing the passport measure if it is brought in as optional.

Landlord of St Giles Ale House in St Giles Street, Terry Steers, added: “Personally I think it’s discriminatory against younger people not being allowed the vaccine yet.

“It’s like when they first brought in the smoking ban and it was discretionary - it was pointless.

“I think it is ill thought out and I don’t think it will happen, but if he did bring it in and it’s optional, we won’t be doing it here.

“If it’s mandatory, it will be another blow to the hospitality industry.

“We are strict with masks, no mask you’re not coming in, end of and I think that is what is needed more than this passport.”

However, not all Northampton publicans are of the same opinion as the landlady of the Old Five Bells in Harborough Road, Kingsthorpe would support the measure.

Liz Cox said: “I think it’s a good idea as we are having to take every precaution we can.

“It will be a lot easier if we can just say ‘show us the paperwork’, but I know there will be a lot of people who don’t like it.

“For us, we mainly have regulars and we know them all, so once I’ve seen the paperwork I wouldn’t have to keep asking for it.

“I think it would give people the confidence to go out in public again, especially those who are concerned.

“People just want to get back to pubs and that’s all we want too.”

Punters were also keen to weigh in on the passport debate, as many Chronicle & Echo readers responded to a social media post about the issue.

Bar a handful of people agreeing with the proposal, the response was overwhelming against the idea.

One reader said: “So the people who are going to be last in line for the vaccine, due to no fault of their own, will have to miss out? It’s madness and another way of controlling the country.”

Another added: “Rubbish idea, it discriminates against the people who can’t have it and the young that won’t be given it.”

Someone else commented: “Not a bright move for an industry that is already on its knees, next step come August will be no vaccine, no school for children.”

Another reader added: “Worst idea I’ve ever heard.

“Don’t have to be anti-vaccine to be anti-vaccine passport. It’s discriminatory and unethical to anyone who doesn’t want it or medically unable to get the vaccine.”

Another simply said: “It’s an appallingly bad idea that shouldn’t even be a discussion.”

The Government review on vaccine certification is expected to report in May ahead of the wider reopening of pubs scheduled for May 17.

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