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You Check to trial health passports at UK venues

In the UK at least, the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is tantalisingly close. Vaccine roll-out is pretty much world-beating, with most estimates now strongly suggesting a return to normality by summer. In the meantime, a new “health passport” system is being trailed by You Check, that could lead to venues re-opening safely even before the final group of the youngest adults receive their vaccine.

The system has been developed by You Check, and is based on an app developed before Covid was even a thing, designed to combat ticket touts and secondary ticketing. In many ways, it’s similar to systems used by the likes of Glastonbury to check the ticket holder is the original ticket buyer. With some relatively easy and minor changes, the app can now be used to show whether a person has has a recent negative Covid test, and can therefore safely attend the event.

Of course, there may be inevitable concerns around privacy with such a system, however the system has been developed in tandem with the Music Venue Trust, a non-governmental charity with only the interests of venues and concert goers at heart, and any test results will be in tandem with with Public Health England, who despite having teething troubles early in the pandemic, have a robust and secure track record for data privacy. Indeed, the app will not be able to see any further details of your medical records aside from whether you’ve had a negative test or not, and your personal details are required when purchasing tickets anyway.

The trials are set to take place in March, with events at the 100 Club in London, and Exchange in Bristol. Both are small venues anyway, but will operate at 25% capacity, with attendees having to take two tests prior to entry. Speaking of the system, founder and COO of You Check Fred Krefting said

“Hospitality is used to rules, it lends itself to this system, and we will, hopefully, have trials going by the spring. It’s important to work alongside government when running these pilots and we’re grateful to the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media, and Sport) for giving us the go-ahead.”

It remains unclear exactly how the system will work if someone shows a positive test having mixed with people also attending, or indeed if someone catches the virus in the 48 hours between getting a test and attending a show. In addition, it may all be academic anyway, with current projections based on rolling averages showing even the youngest adults could be offered a vaccine by the first few weeks of May, and potential increased supply bringing that date forward even further. Either way, it looks like a return to relative normality by spring, with a normal summer for the UK at least now very much on the cards. At present, there is no mention of whether this app will be used to show whether a person has been vaccinated, with vaccination not mandatory in the UK. It is unclear what plans are being drawn up for such a system, if any, though with the EU planning “vaccine passports” for 2021 and beyond, it would be surprising if some private businesses don’t exercise their right to protect vulnerable customers by refusing entry to non-vaccinated people.

Photo by Ömer Yıldız on Unsplash