People may need three jabs to use Covid passes for entry to large venues in England by next month, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.
And people could be fined £10,000 if they try to fake a Covid pass or test result.
Javid told the Commons that people will have to prove they have had a booster jab to gain access to large venues once they have had a reasonable chance to get it.
Unveiling the government’s plan for Covid passes to MPs, Javid said: “You’ll need to show a negative lateral flow test to get into nightclubs and large events, with an exemption for the double-vaccinated.
“Once all adults have had a reasonable chance to get their booster jab, we intend to change this exemption to require a booster dose.”
Javid failed to qualify exactly when the requirement for a third jab would come in. However, given that the prime minister promised on Sunday (12 December) that all over 18s would be offered a booster by December 31, the requirement could be introduced as early as January.
If approved, Covid passes will come into force from 6am on Wednesday (15 December) and will be required as a condition of entry to nightclubs, indoor crowded venues with a capacity of more than 500, outdoor events of 4,000 or more and any event with a capacity of more than 10,000 people.
People must show an NHS Covid pass or an approved equivalent to prove they have been vaccinated, or show a “valid notification” of a negative test taken less than 48 hours before the event, unless they are exempt.
In a bid to prevent fake passes or test results being used to gain entry to venues, the legislation will also make it an offence to make, adapt, supply or offer to supply false evidence of Covid status.
Breaching these rules will see people issued with a fixed penalty notice at a cost of £10,000 for a first offence.
Requirements for venues
Venues are also required to check every person admitted to the event or venue, unless they get approval from councils in advance to carry out spot checks instead.
Venues and businesses in breach of the rules on checks could be fined £1,000 in the first instance, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days. Further offences lead to increased fines of up to £10,000 for fourth offences.
Businesses must also keep records on the checks they have carried out for at least three months after events.
The government is facing the prospect of a large rebellion from its own MPs on the measures, with around 80 Tory MPs expected to vote against the proposals or abstain.
The Conservative MP Marcus Fysh compared the measures to Nazi Germany and said he would be voting against the measures because he did not want to live in a “papers please” society.
He told the BBC: "This is not Nazi Germany... It’s the thin end of an authoritarian wedge."
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab responded to Fysh's comments, saying: "I don’t think comparing what we are trying to achieve to an authoritarian or Nazi regime is quite right. I think a lot of people find that crass."
The expected Tory rebellion leaves the government likely relying on Labour votes to pass the measures.
In a televised address on Monday (13 December), Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he is supporting the new measures and urged people to 'stick to the rules' to help prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by the new Omicron variant.
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.