Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): certification scheme - information for businesses and event organisers

How the certification scheme (COVID passport) operates and what venues, businesses and event organisers need to do.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): certification scheme - information for businesses and event organisers
Additional information

Additional information

The following are questions we have received from the industry which we have answered and published here in case they are useful clarifications for others. They should be used in addition to the main guidance.

Does COVID certification apply to all licensed premises open after midnight where there is dancing to live or recorded music?

Yes, if a premises meets ALL of the following it is in scope for COVID Certification:

  1. Alcohol is served at any time between midnight and 5am
  2. There is a dancefloor, or other designated space, for dancing by customers, and
  3. Live or recorded music for dancing is played

Wedding receptions are not in scope but what about other milestone/life events that may run beyond midnight i.e. birthday/retirement/anniversary celebrations?

A. COVID certification is not required for weddings, funerals, civil partnerships and related receptions. If other milestone/life events are taking place in a premises that meet the late night definition criteria set out above, COVID certification will apply.

If a dance floor or space where dancing would usually take place is utilised for other purposes, such as by being partly covered with tables and chairs, does this take a premises out of scope for COVID certification regardless of whether people may dance at any point after midnight?

If a premises (meeting the late night definition criteria) reasonably expects that customers will want to dance to live or recorded music in an area where dancing would normally take place, is in the operating plan and there is an expectation by customers that dancing will feature in their late night experience, then COVID certification will apply. 

If a premises stops the playing of music from midnight, stops selling alcohol from midnight or takes steps to ensure dancing is not permitted/no facilities for it to take place from midnight, then the late night definition criteria will not be met and COVID certification would not apply.

What about premises operating after midnight where there is live or recorded music being played for general entertainment but there is no designated space for dancing and dancing is not a normal feature of the hospitality experience – would that premises be in scope for COVID certification?

No, in this scenario a premises would not meet the late night definition criteria and COVID certification would not apply. 

If a premises chooses to stop live or recorded entertainment at midnight but remain open for general service, where permitted by its licence, would COVID certification apply?

No, in this event a premises would not meet the late night definition criteria and COVID Certification would not apply for general service. Similarly, if the premises stopped dancing or serving alcohol from midnight, COVID certification would not apply.

If an in scope premises that would not ordinarily have door staff is unable to hire new trained staff to check COVID certification at the door, will they need to close at midnight?

It is for operators to determine the best approach to compliance with COVID certification, which may vary depending on the type of late night premises.  There is no requirement in the regulations for those checking vaccine certificates/records of negative test results/evidence of exemption to be industry accredited security personnel (hold an SIA license), but if checking is being carried out by door staff with a role of  `manned guarding of licensed premises` then an SIA license would be required. Operators should also check the terms of their insurance arrangements where there may be a requirement for staff in certain roles i.e. door staff, to be industry accredited security personnel.

I don’t have door staff as a condition of license and don’t have provision to hire/unable to find door staff, however I may need to conduct COVID certification. Do checks need to be carried out at the door or can they be carried out once customers have entered (i.e. when being served at the bar; seated at a table etc.)?

COVID certification is intended as a condition of entry where it applies, therefore checks should be made at the door/point of entry in affected settings meeting the late night definition criteria. It is for each premises to determine what measures to put in place, and at what point checking should begin i.e.:

  • the time the premises opens, or
  • the time the premises opens its dancefloor and provides music for dancing where this extends beyond midnight

What should staff do if anyone cannot provide their vaccine certificate, record of a negative COVID test result or evidence of exemption ?

Anyone who is unable to provide evidence of having been double vaccinated or record of a negative test should be refused entry, unless they can provide evidence confirming they are exempt.  See toolkit for further information.

In the event of individuals being separated from friends having been refused entry to a premises - is there a duty of care on venues not to leave people vulnerable and alone late at night?

As at any time, safety is always a priority and we would urge everyone planning a night out to think ahead and discuss any issues that COVID certification may present for any member of a group so as to ensure no one is left alone and vulnerable as a result of being separated from friends, as should always be the case in normal times.  

What should staff do if someone claims to be exempt but is unable to present proof of exemption?

Following 18 October, it will be necessary to refuse entry to anyone who cannot present proof of double vaccination or of exemption in the late night sector.

From 6 December, customers will also have the alternative of presenting record of a negative COVID test result (either LFD or PCR). See the toolkit for further information. If they cannot present any suitable proof of COVID status or exemption then they should be refused entry.

It is exceptionally rare for somebody to be exempt on medical grounds.

What should staff do if they find evidence of attempted fraud in order to gain entry to premises?

In the first instance refuse entry. This should then be reported as soon as is practical to Police Scotland.

If an event is taking place inside a premises which would previously have been controlled under the COVID-19 event guidance, and also meets all four late night criteria, does the event need to carry out checks of all customers or only if its 500+ attendees

If activity taking place within a premises meets the late night definition criteria then COVID certification is required for all customers.

If an event is taking place in a non-hospitality venue (i.e. an occasional license) and fulfills all four late night criteria, does the event need to certify customers or only if it’s 500+ attendees?

If activity taking place within a premises meets the late night definition criteria then COVID certification would apply for all customers/attendees. Even if a premises doesn’t meet the criteria for a late night venue, COVID certification would still apply if the event meets the “events criteria”. In this case, it would apply if it is an indoor unseated event of more than 500 – or a seated event of more than 10,000.

We regularly have performances by bands and other entertainers.  Sometimes people will dance, other times they won’t (dependent on the act). Will I have to carry out Covid certification at the events that I think people may dance at?

Yes, if there is a reasonable expectation, both on the part of the operator and the customer, that entertainment running beyond midnight will result in dancing, and all late night definition criteria is met, then this should be considered in scope for COVID certification.

Our events typically run until after 12 (around 12.45), the four criteria are met between 12 and close, but there’s no entry after 11pm. Do I need to certify customers who are there after midnight?  

Yes, this will be required by regulations.  Operators should however consider their approach in advance. It is for each premises to determine what measures to put in place, and at what point checking should begin i.e.:

  • the time the premises opens, or
  • the time the premises opens its dancefloor and provides music for dancing where this extends beyond midnight

If activity in a premises is expected to meet the late night definition criteria then COVID Certification should be part of the operational planning at the outset.

Every last Saturday of the month we have a ceilidh band and a ceilidh, the demographic of customers is normally 60+, all people dancing are relatively well spaced out and it in no way could be contrasted with a nightclub, do I need to certify customers who are attending the ceilidh if it runs after midnight?

If the activity meets the late night definition criteria then COVID certification applies. In this case, there is a designated area for dancing and music provided for the purposes of dancing – the type of music or dancing is not relevant to the criteria. Operators and organisers should take any requirement to comply with COVID certification into account when planning an activity and include this in any customer communications so that, alongside Government public messaging, people come prepared.

Should my business hold stocks of lateral flow test kits to distribute to customers who do not have a vaccine certificate and have not tested  before attending the venue?

No.  Businesses should not be distributing test kits to prospective customers.  The distribution of test kits is be carefully managed to meet regulatory requirements to be able to recall test kits from users in the event of a performance or safety issue with the tests. Lateral flow tests are designed to be used at room temperature, on a flat, clean, dry surface with the ability of the user to wash their hands thoroughly before use to avoid contaminating the test. In addition it is important that people take the test before leaving home to prevent travel and queueing without a confirmed status.

For additional guidance please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces.


Contact

Email: DLECONPSWT@gov.scot

First published: 28 Sep 2021 Last updated: 3 Dec 2021 -