A POPULAR Hereford pub has questioned Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest suggestion that pubs could ask customers to provide a coronavirus vaccine certificate.

The comments from the Prime Minster have been widely criticised by publicans across the country, and trade bodies suggested the idea was "simply unworkable".

Mr Johnson insisted "no decisions have been taken at all", saying that there will be an update on the review into their possible use on either April 5 or 12, and said that "whatever happens" the April 12 reopening of pub gardens will be unaffected.

The Prime Minister said that "I do think there is going to be a role for certification", though it is possible this will be limited to foreign travel.

"There are three basic components. There's the vaccine, there's your immunity you might have had after you've had Covid and there's testing – they are three things that could work together," Mr Johnson said.

But he acknowledged there are "moral complexities" and "ethical problems" that must be addressed, raising concerns that pregnant women and those with medical reasons cannot be vaccinated.

"You might only be able to implement a thoroughgoing vaccination passport scheme, even if you wanted such a thing, in the context of when absolutely everybody had been offered a vaccine," Mr Johnson added.

Antony Rees, who runs the Spread Eagle in King Street, Hereford, said the idea was not practical as the vaccine is not compulsory, and people might not have it due to their age, personal beliefs or religious views.

"At the moment it's down to us as landlords of pubs to police everything at the minute," Mr Rees said when talking about social distancing and face coverings.

"They (vaccine passes) are going to be an extra thing to police."


He said there were a lot of questions after Mr Johnson's latest idea, saying he would be concerned about discrimination.

"I'm 50-50 with it because the pub trade needs the punters into the pub," he said.

"We need punters in our pub to help us survive.

"If people haven't had the vaccine, where do we stand? Is it discrimination if we don't let them in?"

Mr Rees, who said the Spread Eagle would be opening its outdoor seating on April 14, added: "I think it's unfair on landlords to police something the Government has put in.

"I know the police and the licensing in Hereford haven't got the people to do it, but why bring in these things expecting landlords to police it?"

Mark Haslam, from the Herefordshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said it would be unfair on younger people who might not have had the vaccine when any rule on passes comes in.

Hereford Times: Mark Haslam from Herefordshire CAMRA Mark Haslam from Herefordshire CAMRA

He said he could see where the government was coming from in terms of making pubs safer, but it wasn't practical or realistic.

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of the UKHospitality trade body, said the plan is "simply unworkable" and the British Beer and Pub Association said the requirement would not be "appropriate or necessary".


Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is reviewing the possible use of coronavirus status certificates under plans to ease England's lockdown.

He told the Commons that "a system that relied purely on vaccination would not be appropriate" and echoed Mr Johnson in saying it could take into account "recent test status and indeed potentially also antibody status".

A Whitehall source also told the PA news agency that landlords may be able to scrap social distancing if they check Covid health certificates on entry, in a move that would allow them to operate at much higher capacity.

Under the suggestion being considered in the review, those who do not want to enforce the checks would be allowed to reopen but would have to ensure social distancing is maintained.