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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for local authorities

Last updated: 21 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 18 Oct 2021

Guidance to help local councils enforce the vaccine certification (or COVID passport) scheme.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for local authorities
Requirements of premises and events

Requirements and expectations of premises and events in scope


The Regulations require the person responsible to implement a reasonable system for checking that persons on, or seeking to enter, the premises are permitted to be there under the Regulations. The system must also include a method for removing from, or refusing access to, anyone identified as not being permitted to be there in accordance with the Regulations.

The Regulations also require that  the person responsible must have in place a compliance plan which details the required system as well as any other measures in place to prevent or minimise the risk of coronavirus spreading on the premises. This plan must be presented to a relevant person upon request. An example plan is set out at Annex A. Business that completed a plan before the change to include negative test results as permission should ensure they update the compliance plan.

Businesses are also asked to have regard to any guidance published on the matter by Scottish Government. However, as with previous coronavirus regulations, failure to do this is not an offence.

The Regulations set out the requirements on the person responsible for a premises in scope of certification. Who this is may differ by premises. More information on the responsible person is set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for businesses and event organisers - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Checking of Covid Status Certification can be via the app, or via the NHS issued letter see toolkit here: Toolkit for Operators Guidance for venues | NHS Scotland COVID Check

Businesses which change their operating plans so as to avoid the certification requirement (e.g. by removing music and dancing after midnight, or stopping the sale of alcohol between midnight and 5 am) are exempted from licensing offences under these Regulations.


The guidance sets out the expectations we have on premises and events in scope in meeting their regulatory requirements. When engaging with a business, we would expect local authorities to verify that they understand and are meeting the requirements and expectations on them.

In particular, the responsible person should make it clear they and their staff:

Specifically, they should look to confirm they have taken reasonable steps to verify that each person who enters the premises is permitted to do so under the Regulations. As part of this, they should look to set out in their Certification Compliance Plan:

  • How they will confirm the status of an individual
    • Will they be visually checking or scanning vaccine certification?
    • Are they using the Scottish Government app, or using the source code to build into their own systems?
    • Do they know how individuals can present negative test results?
    • Do they know what constitutes an applicable negative test result?
    • Do they understand how to confirm exemption status for relevant individuals?
  • How they will determine which individual’s certification status will be checked
    • How many individuals do they plan to check, and does this meet the Scottish Government expectation set out in guidance (see below)?
    • If they are sampling some attendees, how many and how have they determined this level is appropriate?
    • If sampling, how are they determining who to check?
  • What the different potential outcomes are of a check
    • If using the app do they recognise a valid certification confirmation?
    • If using the app do they recognise when the system responds that the certification is invalid?
    • If the individual presents a negative test result, do they understand how to read it and confirm it is valid?
  • How they handle individuals who are not permitted to enter
    • What is the process for dealing with such an individual?
    • If the venue is sampling individuals to check, is there a process to prevent them trying again at another entry/ point in time?

If the plan is for an ongoing event or for a premises within scope, the plan should be continually reviewed and amended should the operator’s plans change i.e. checks on a Monday night may differ to a Saturday night.

First published: 18 Oct 2021 Last updated: 21 Jan 2022 -