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Covid Pass for England a simple guide for businesses

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The government has now activated the additional control measures referred to as Plan B.

The final part of the proposals includes the Covid Pass for certain venues and this came into force on the 15 December 2021.

This guide has been developed to help assist businesses understand whether the Covid Pass applies to your business, and if so, what the law says you need to do

Businesses where the pass applies

If you operate as a nightclub or similar venue where the expectation is people will go there to dance rather than just to drink or eat, then the pass requirements will apply to you regardless of how many customers you have.

If you do not consider your business is a nightclub, then does all of the following apply to you?

  • You remain open after 1.00am
  • You serve alcohol after 1.00am
  • You have a dance floor area or space for members of the public to dance
  • You provide any kind of music for dancing

If all 4 of the above points apply to your venue, then the Covid Pass applies.

Other venues and events

The Covid Pass also applies to a number of other venues and events:

  • Indoor events with at least 500 people that will be mainly standing
  • Outdoor events with at least 4000 people that will mainly be standing
  • Very large events with at least 10,000 people indoors or outdoors sitting or standing

There are some very limited exceptions, but you will need to refer to the regulations and guidance for more information

Changing your business so the rules don't apply

If you decide to change the way you operate so you no longer fall into the categories above, then you would no longer have to apply the Covid Pass requirement.

For instance:

  • If you are a nightclub and close your dance floor or stop providing music
  • For other venues, you may choose to close the dance floor and prevent access to any spaces where people may dance, close the business before 1.00am, stop serving alcohol after 1.00am or stop providing music for dancing
  • For larger events, you can limit the number of people to below the limits set

Closing the dance floor and keeping a DJ

If you stay open after 1.00am and provide any space for dancing the regulations will apply.

A space for dancing is not exclusively reserved for the dance floor. Patrons who dance at their table or in any part of your premises will be doing so in a space provided by you. The sensible thing to do would be to cease providing music for dancing such as DJs for example.

Checking customer’s Covid Pass?

For the vast majority of venues where the Covid Pass applies, you will be required to check every customer entering your venue.

The easiest way to do this is as they enter your venue. There are some exceptions for very large events or venues where a reduced number of checks might be acceptable but this would have to be agreed with us at least 10 working days before the event. This would only really apply to larger events where most attendees will arrive around the same time. You will need to refer to the regulations and detailed guidance to determine if this exception will apply to your venue or event.

What to look for

All attendees will have to provide either evidence of double vaccination or a negative Covid test completed within 48 hours.

At this time, customers do not have to show they have received the booster vaccination.It is anticipated most people will use the NHS Covid App to demonstrate they have a valid Covid Pass.

The recommended way to verify a Covid Pass is to the use the NHS Covid Pass verifier App. This will verify if the Covid Pass shown to you on a smart phone is in date and valid.

If you do not use the NHS verifier App you can make a visual check but you will need to make sure this isn’t a screen shot, or a copy and is in date. You should visit the NHS Covid pass web pages for further information on how to verify a Covid Pass.

Negative Covid test

You can accept evidence of a negative Covid test instead of the NHS Covid Pass but you need to ensure the following:

  • The evidence of the test must be through the NHS Test and Trace service. You cannot accept any other evidence. The customer will have received an email from the Test and Trace service so ask them for this
  • Check that this shows the test was negative and done within the last 48 hours

Record keeping

You must prepare a statement that explains what you will do to ensure you meet your obligations under the Covid Pass requirements.

You must also keep this up to date to reflect any changes you might make as you get used to the new procedures.

You should also include how you will let your customers know what you are doing. For each night you operate, or event you run, you must record the number of people that attended.

You should also record if there were any problems that forced you to change the way you carry out your usual Covid Pass checks, why this was and what you did instead.

You must keep these records for 3 months from the date of the event or day the records refer to and keep your general policy statement for as long as the Covid Pass requirement is in force and for 3 months after the requirement ceases.

Your records for each day/event must not record personal information of your customers.

Other requirements

In addition to ensuring you apply the Covid Pass requirements whenever they apply to your business you must also:

  • Keep your Covid Pass policy/statement up to date so that it reflects how you are operating and how you are making the required checks
  • Update your risk assessments to ensure you are taking necessary steps protect the health, safety and welfare of your staff


Blackpool Council have enforcement powers to check that you are following the rules and taking the necessary steps to comply with the law. Powers are also available to us including service of Covid Improvement notices, fixed penalty notices, or prosecution.

More information and advice

This guide is only intended to provide a general overview of the Covid Pass requirement as it applies to most businesses.

Government has issued details guidance along with further explanation on the operation of the Covid Pass.

The link to the general guidance has been included earlier in this guidance, but for further information on the Covid Pass please visit the NHS website.

Thank you for playing your part in keeping our local communities and visitors safe. We are all in this together, and your continued cooperation demonstrates a responsible business, as well as a sense of community spirit.