The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022 and The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2022: business and regulatory impact assessment
This business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) considers the impacts for businesses and consumers of amending the definition of fully vaccinated to include the requirement for a booster vaccination if a person’s primary course of MHRA vaccine was more than 120 days ago and amending the definition of late night venue.
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Option selected: Option 2
As part of a package of protective measures, such as mandatory face coverings in some settings, provision of contact details in hospitality, test and protect with support for people to self-isolate and, Covid Status Certification should ensure that only fully vaccinated individuals, or those who can provide a record of a negative test within 24 hours, or people who are exempt, are present in these settings or at these events, reducing the risk of infection and severe illness leading to hospitalisation amongst attendees. SAGE have acknowledged the potential benefits of introducing a vaccine certification scheme in conjunction with a package of other NPIs to limit contact between infected and susceptible individuals, thereby minimising the risk of infections and serious disease.
Therefore, the Scottish Government considers that, based on the current state of the pandemic, the scientific evidence and balancing the direct harm of Covid (Harm 1) with the harm on wider society and the economy (Harms 2, 3 and 4), Option 2 is proportionate to protect public health.
The retention of Covid Status Certification in existing higher risk settings and amendment to the definition of fully vaccinated and inclusion of boosters, alongside the amendment in the definition of late night premises, will ensure that Covid Status Certification is providing increased protection against COVID-19 and Omicron particularly. Any further Regulatory changes would require the completion of a further Business Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Supporting implementation in line with our policy aims
For more information on the Covid Status Certificate see the Scottish Government website.
In line with our strategic intent to 'suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future', the policy objectives of Covid Status Certification are to:
- Reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus, by ensuring that specified public spaces where transmission risks are higher are used only by those who are fully vaccinated, including a booster or have tested negative in the previous 24 hours
- Reduce the risk of serious illness and death thereby alleviating current and future pressure on the NHS, by reducing transmission in higher risk settings. Vaccination reduces (but does not entirely eliminate ) the risk of being infected, the risk of serious illness and death if infected, and the risk of infecting others
- Reduce the risk of settings specified in the scheme being required to operate under more restrictive protections, or to close, by ensuring that the risk of transmission in these settings is reduced, reducing overall cases of Covid
- Increase the protection enjoyed by those using settings covered by the scheme and their contacts, by incentivising those using the settings to get vaccinated and to test regularly and self-isolate if positive
Sectoral guidance: to support effective implementation consistent with our policy aim, we have provided information to the sectors where Covid Status Certification is mandated on the policy and regulations, and the reasonable implementation, enforcement and handling of exemptions. This guidance can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Ministers have been clear that Covid Status Certification will not be a requirement for public services or other settings that many people have no option but to attend such as retail, public transport, health services and education. We recognise that some businesses, outside the regulated settings, are asking people for evidence they have been fully vaccinated as a condition of entry or as a condition of employment. We emphasised in our guidance that businesses which are not covered by the Government's scheme would need to consider carefully their obligations under all relevant law including data protection, the Equality Act and Human rights. For more information see the Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance for Employers.
Public guidance: Updated public guidance providing information on what Covid Status Certification is, the policy objectives, where it is regulated and why, and the steps to attain Covid Status Certification has been published. Our Guidance will be clear about the settings in which use of Covid Status Certification is required. It will explain that the scope of the Regulations has been carefully and deliberately limited to activities where the balance of public health risk clearly outweighs other rights considerations, and is designed to respect the rights of individuals. Specific protections have been put in place to ensure the scheme operates in a lawful manner.
Ongoing stakeholder engagement: We will continue to engage with stakeholders and gather intelligence on the impact of Certification. We will create feedback loops and build this evidence into the policy.
Exceptions: There will be exceptions for premises being used for certain purposes, including communal religious worship, un-ticketed events held at an outdoor public place with no fixed entry points and certain business events that individuals are required to attend for work purposes (not including any peripheral reception or function outside the core hours of the conference).
As the regulations have been laid under the Coronavirus Act 2020 there is a requirement to review the regulations every 21 days. The Covid Status Certification provisions will expire on 28 February 2022, as with all other Covid measures under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022 and The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2022. If Ministers wish to extend the measures further then additional regulations will be required.
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