THE Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers such as Michael Gove are taking care not to mention it, having doubtless been coached by the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), but the exemptions to mask-wearing apply equally to vaccine pass-presenting, meaning that no unvaccinated person may be barred from any event.
Exemption can be self-declared, since no proof may be demanded by the organiser or staff supervising admission to premises. This is hardly surprising, since how could the Equalities Act 2010 not apply, when it did to masks, for example in supermarkets and on public transport?
The relevant section about the NHS Covid Pass makes clear that it is not mandatory to have either the NHS App or any documentary evidence on you. Under the heading ‘Exemptions’, this is part of what it says:
‘There will also be a small number of exemptions for individuals who have a medical reason which means they cannot vaccinate or test. These individuals will need to self-declare their medical exemption directly with you.
‘A digital solution is being developed which will enable individuals with a medical exemption to show their Covid-19 status using the NHS Covid Pass. In the interim, please follow the advice below.
‘Please be mindful and respectful where there are potentially circumstances where a customer or individual cannot safely demonstrate their Covid-19 status by taking a vaccination or a test. This could include people:
· with learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or with a combination of impairments which result in the same distress.
· those suffering from or under medical supervision for acute or evolving serious diseases or those receiving palliative care or undergoing treatment with unpleasant side effects.
‘Event or venue organisers in England that choose to use the NHS Covid Pass as a condition of entry can decide whether to accept self-declared medical exemptions where an individual cannot vaccinate or test, ensuring they comply with the Equalities Act 2010.
‘Your customers may declare a medical exemption directly with you. You and your staff should not ask for evidence of the exemption . . .
‘You may see an individual wearing a visual cue to indicate they are declaring a medical exemption from testing and vaccination. Please note any form of visual cue that indicates an exemption should be respected. This can include a handmade version. It is not mandatory for an individual to wear a visual cue to outline they are exempt [emphasis in original]. You should not ask these individuals to demonstrate their Covid-19 status through the NHS App . . .
‘If your customer confirms that they have a self declared exemption, but is unable to show any evidence, you should allow them access to your venue or event. You must not ask for proof of their medical exemption and it is not essential they show any form of exemption card at any point.’
You can read the full section here.