Ahead of the Senedd vote on the Welsh Government’s Health Protection Regulations which will extend the reach of Covid-19 Passes to apply to cinemas and theatres, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, has underlined her opposition to their implementation citing concerns about infringement on civil liberties and their impact on society's poorest.
Commenting ahead of the vote, Janet said:
“I have been most alarmed by recent comments from the First Minister and the Health Minister to the media – rather than confirming with Members of the Senedd – that they would likely extend the use of Covid-19 passes. This lack of open engagement does our businesses a real disservice. “Our first duty as Members of the Senedd, and as legislators, is to make good law and strike out bad. Alongside the well-established issues around equality and civil liberties, the Welsh Government has seemingly failed to provide any evidence that these vaccine passports adequately limit the spread of the virus or increase uptake of the vaccine. “Welsh Labour always purport to be championing the poorest in society but, yet again, we see their Government pursuing measures which could negatively impact the poorest, support businesses in England rather than Wales, and deepen a two tier society. “Given that the Chief Medical Officer for Wales has himself described these passes as having a ‘probably quite small’ impact, the Welsh Government should urgently pause this disproportionate measure so that time can be given for further scientific review. “Our hospitality venues are already among the most badly hit businesses during the pandemic, with a number being saddled with debt and rent arrears. Legitimate concerns remain unanswered that these regulations may directly lead to potential confrontation with security and other venue staff.”
The cinema industry has met the proposed extension with alarm, with the UK Cinema Association stating that it could be “hugely damaging.” The CEO of the Association has warned that this could lead to the closure of many smaller venues, stating that “where similar schemes have been introduced in other European territories, we have seen admissions drop by as much as 50%.”
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS