West Lothian theater patrons react after Nicola Sturgeon said they could be included in the vaccination passport program

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One of West Lothian’s most popular venues has responded to the Scottish Government’s proposals that the vaccination passport scheme could be expanded to include theaters and cinemas.

Regal Reconnect at Bathgate says expanding the scheme to require proof of vaccination will put huge financial pressure on small businesses.

A vaccination passport is already required for anyone entering a nightclub or attending mass events such as football games and concerts, and Nicola Sturgeon said last week that the Scottish Government is considering doing the same for other areas of the entertainment and hospitality industry.

Christopher McPhillips, director of marketing at Reconnect Regal, said he does not believe the passport scheme has any real use in fighting the spread of the virus.

He continued: “If the Scottish Government is willing to fund the two staff positions we will need to implement this policy, we will be happy to check covid passports.

“Given that current vaccines neither cure Covid-19 nor prevent anyone from contracting COVID-19, we do not understand why this is necessary or indeed any practical benefit. Home testing would be much more effective.

“Putting financial pressure on small businesses and charities to control the behavior of the public is not something we or any business or charity can afford to pay.

“The subject of vaccination and testing should be the responsibility of the person; It is not something that operators, charities or anyone else has to force.”

The Howden Park Center in Livingston, another popular theater, said the plan would result in higher costs, but operator West Lothian Leisure is happy to be able to keep the venue open and keep the shoes running.

Mark Chambers, head of corporate services, said: “Following this announcement, we are actively planning to ensure we are able to respond assuming these regulations have been approved.

“The safety of our customers and employees has been and will remain our priority throughout the pandemic.



Vaccine passport program can be extended

“While the proposed changes will require new adjustments, which could possibly incur additional costs, conversely, we will be able to keep the theater open and, more importantly, be able to stage our popular Christmas pantomime run. Ticket sales for Bairns in the Wood, which began on December 3, are very strong despite the ongoing uncertainty. was strong – protecting that ticket revenue is vital to the theater’s financial sustainability.

“We will continue to aim to provide the best possible experience for all our customers while operating within the guidance provided by the Scottish Government.”

Speaking in Holyrood last week, Ms. Sturgeon said a decision would be made tomorrow.

“I can confirm that, at our meeting earlier today, the Council of Ministers has agreed to keep the existing regulations in place with little or no change.
“However, although we haven’t made any final decisions yet, we have also considered the possibility of future changes to the covid certification program and will provide more information on that soon.

“I should also say that we are tentatively planning any changes to the plan, effective December 6th.”
He added: “We also consider whether it would be justified and prudent to expand the plan to cover more environments, given the current state of the pandemic.

“However, I can confirm that the types of media that may be covered will be indoor movie theaters, theaters, and some other licensed and accommodation facilities, to allow us to engage openly with businesses about the pros, cons, and practices in the coming days. .
“But all our decisions are motivated by the desire to get through a tough winter without having to impose any restrictions on trade. We want businesses to stay fully open throughout Christmas and winter if possible while keeping Covid under control.
“If extending the Covid certification can help us do that, it would be irresponsible to ignore it.”

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