The UK government’s call for evidence on Covid-status certification was a timely intervention, coming at a moment where the UK’s vaccine rollout has strengthened hopes of a return to some normality, and with countries around the world exploring domestic and international certification schemes.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the ability to operate safely has been at the heart of businesses’ thinking. Firms across the UK rightly recognise the importance of keeping their people safe, and are adapting their operations to do so. Industry recognises the potential of a COVID-status certification scheme to help keep employees, customers, and visitors safe.
Businesses have however raised reservations about the need for a scheme, the practicalities of its implementation, and its potential impact on societal fairness. Potential challenges outlined by CBI members include how a scheme would be monitored and enforced in practice and the potential for discrimination given not everyone has been offered (or can have) the vaccine, alongside wider concerns about the scheme’s purpose and the unknown impact of vaccination in transmission in the long term.
The CBI has set out seven key principles that should underpin any COVID-status certification scheme
Irrespective of their differing perspectives, CBI members are united in their belief that the introduction of any prospective scheme should be done in partnership with government and other stakeholders, to maximise confidence and minimise confusion.
Based on conversations with businesses across the economy, industry believes that any Covid-status certification scheme should be:
- Voluntary and an additional tool in the UK’s armoury to manage risk, underpinned by the scientific evidence.
- Science-led and time-limited, with clarity on the scheme’s purpose and timelines for implementation and review.
- Based on proof of either vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result.
- Aligned with existing COVID policies already at play such as testing, vaccinations, and international travel.
- Supported by business-specific legal counsel and help for monitoring and enforcement.
- A solution that is simple to use, accessible to all and provides reliable, up-to-date information.
- Consistent across all four nations of the UK.
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