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Retailers Against Vaccine Passport Plans, Says BRC

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Retailers in the UK are generally against the idea of having customers be required to present paperwork as evidence of being vaccinated against Covid-19.

That’s according to Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), who has said that a plan to introduce vaccine passports could be significantly detrimental to retailers’ efforts to recover from the pandemic in the coming weeks and months.

“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,” Ms Dickinson has said.

“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,” she added.

The comments from the BRC’s chief executive come soon after representatives of hospitality businesses and cinema chain operators expressed similar concerns about the government’s idea of introducing vaccine passports.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on April 5th that the ‘roadmap’ for reopening various parts of the UK economy over the coming months remains on course.

Non-essential retailers in England are set to reopen their doors from April 12, with those businesses having been obliged to remain closed for the past several months.

It is unclear currently whether the government’s ideas around vaccine passports will be put forward as a policy to be voted on in the House of Commons and potentially then to become a legal requirement of businesses across the country.

Dozens of Conservative MPs who would normally support government proposals are understood to be opposed to the introduction of vaccine passports, which could make it more difficult for their use to become law.

Recently, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality trade body, made clear her opposition to the prospect of making vaccine certificates a part of the UK’s post-pandemic recovery.

Such a policy would be “very difficult to implement” and would put a “huge amount of additional stress on an industry that has suffered enough,” Ms Nicholls said in a statement.

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