Opinions are divided on vaccine passports for future Surrey events

Surrey event planners have expressed mixed views on the idea of ​​vaccine passports to allow them to happen.

Vaccine passports have been a topic of discussion since the start of the UK vaccination program, but all the more so given recent steps taken to implement them for high profile events, the most important being that of the ‘UEFA at the football events in the stadiums for the Euro.

The England vs Croatia match at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 13 June will allow spectators to use vaccine passports, showing proof of full vaccination 14 days before the match as a means of accessing the event.

Pride in Surrey, the LGBT + festival, is a Surrey event taking place in 2021 after only virtual or reduced roadside events in 2020.

This year it will take place in downtown Godalming, and although founder Stephen Ireland has said he plans to be flexible with arrangements, he cannot see vaccine passports factored into plans for Pride in Surrey at the moment.

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He said: “Although at first glance vaccine passports seem like a great idea, I think it’s really important to make sure that pride is more accessible and welcoming. With that in mind, it wouldn’t work. for us because there are a number of groups of people who could not come.

“It’s a double-edged sword – you really want to welcome as many people as possible to an event, especially an event as diverse and inclusive as ours, but we also want to make sure we’re safe. of those conversations where you have a divided group of individuals with different points of view. “

He says that for the event industry at large, all eyes will be on events like the Euro when it comes to how best to plan future events.

“We are a local event, we are small compared to Wembley Stadium. [But] it’s just a matter of making sure you keep your ear close to the ground, making sure you’re playing safe, making sure you don’t sell too many tickets, and making sure you have the right ones. [procedures] in place.”

Surrey pubs previously told SurreyLive that support for vaccine passports was conditional – it could open windows towards a return to normalcy, but it also creates difficulties for places that have a natural tendency to welcome everyone.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), which owns the RHS Garden in Wisley, just outside Woking, is another event organizer who is not currently considering bringing in vaccine passports.

A spokesperson for RHS said: “Passports for vaccines are not something we factor into event plans at RHS Garden Wisley. We are adhering to government guidelines as we have been doing since reopened last June, and have many measures in place to ensure our events are Covid-safe, e.g. pre-booking, capping numbers, tracking and traceability, hand sanitization points, face coverings to be worn ‘inside.’

RHS Wisley
RHS Wisley Gardens just outside Woking (pictured), says there are currently no plans to introduce vaccine passports at events

This is a controversial question – many high profile events in Surrey made no comment when asked by SurreyLive.

But University of Surrey research suggests that there is a general attitude of public openness towards vaccine passports. The university recently conducted a study on attitudes towards vaccination passports. – only 20% said they did not want to use them, with 30% undecided.

Professor Iis Tussyadiah, acting director of the university’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, who was part of the study, said: “We did not specifically ask about the use of vaccine passports for major events, but what the study found is that about half of UK residents surveyed are open to using vaccine passports to access services such as hospitality and events.

“It is important to note that the use of vaccine passports is to ensure safety and thus improve consumers’ confidence in their participation in activities where they will interact with other people, including travel, hospitality and attending events. According to our study, most consumers have a positive view of vaccine passports as a tool to restart these activities safely. “

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