Update To NHS Covid Pass Entry Requirements in England

Government release more detailed guidance for hospitality venues working under Plan B restrictions nest week

It was announced last night that England will move to Covid ‘Plan B’ restrictions, next week. Of particular importance, and concern, to the hospitality industry is the news that guests will need to show an NHS Covid Pass or negative lateral flow test result to enter certain venues in certain circumstances. As you would expect, details about the new rules were scarce at the time of the announcement, however the Gov.uk website has now been updated. The following text is taken from the new guidance:

The use of the NHS COVID Pass is required as a condition of entry into the following places:

Nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques; other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:

  • open between 1am and 5am;
  • serve alcohol during this time;
  • have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing); and
  • provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.

Indoor events with 500 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions;

Outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals; and
any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events. There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests, and mass participation sporting events.

View the Gov.uk guidance page here.

Does a small bar that has a bit of floor space upon which people occasionally dance mean that bar is a dance venue ? As usual this sort of question hasn’t been answered by government and the burden of sorting through the grey ‘is a scotch egg a meal’ areas has been left to operators to navigate at short notice.

Additionally, guidance for the public about how they prove their Covid status has been updated, which in turn clarifies the situation for staff checking guests at the door. The following is taken from the Gov.uk website:

From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated (currently a full course of vaccination without the need for a booster, but this will be kept under review), have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or that they have an exemption. This means that those aged 18 years or over must show their NHS COVID Pass, or an alternative proof of a negative test result, such as an email or text proof, to gain entry into these venues.

You can access your NHS COVID Pass through:

  • the NHS App
  • NHS.UK
  • A letter that you can obtain on NHS.UK or by calling 119

The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your COVID vaccination status and test results in a secure way for entry to domestic venues or events.

You can obtain an NHS COVID Pass two weeks after completing a full course of vaccination or with a negative test in the last 48 hours. The NHS COVID Pass can be obtained with two doses (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine), but we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out. You can also obtain an NHS COVID Pass if:

  • You have received a trial vaccine as part of a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK
  • You have a medical reason that means you cannot be vaccinated, confirmed by your GP or a specialist clinician
  • You can also show email or text proof of your negative test result in order to gain entry to these venues.

We will update this page as and when more information is released. In the mean time, the hospitality-specific guidance page can be found on the link below. It’s probably an idea to check it regularly as guidance is likely to change:

Guidance for hospitality venues