UK business calls for clarity over ‘proof of vaccination’

Covid workplace

A leading business organisation is urging the government to clarify the future of Covid safety measures after finding only 5 per cent of companies have rules requiring customers or employees to provide proof of vaccination.

A survey of more than 1,000 companies by the British Chambers of Commerce found 78 per cent had no plans to implement such a requirement and only 6 per cent were likely to do so.

The BCC is calling on the government to set out plans as soon as possible for what the operating conditions will be for businesses after the final phase of the recovery road map on June 21 “so that businesses can plan effectively”.

According to the survey, over the next 12 months, 76 per cent of businesses expect to have to continue with social distancing, while 61 per cent believe they will need to have hand sanitiser available. Just over half cited face coverings as a continuing requirement. Only 9 per cent expected there to be no safety measures in place.

Working practices are tipped to stay strictly controlled, with 46 per cent of those surveyed expecting to continue with socially distanced desk arrangements, while 45 per cent intend to limit access to their offices or work premises.

Hannah Essex, 40, co-executive director of the BCC, said the government needed to make clear what measures would be required ahead of the final stage of the road map, with clarity on proof of vaccination a priority. She said: “If the government is planning to make this a requirement in any sector, then it must act rapidly to inform businesses so they can adjust and prepare.”

Gareth Jones, 39, managing director of In-Comm, a training services provider, said implementing proof of vaccination could be challenging. While safety was crucial, the administration would be “laborious” and there could be an issue with individuals not vaccinated “due to their personal beliefs”.

Phil Calcutt, 62, director of the precision engineers A&M EDM, said: “We’re concerned that vaccine passports would be problematic to implement. We would have no legal sanction to ensure compliance and we’d expect a test case to drag on in the courts. If the NHS and care homes haven’t been able to implement this kind of stuff then how can businesses be expected to?”