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Guidance: Carrying out mandatory COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event

Department Of Health

January 11
16:31 2022

Checking the COVID-19 status of attendees will be mandatory in certain settings from 6am Wednesday 15 December.

COVID-19 status what this means

Throughout this guidance, valid COVID-19 status means any of the following apply:

  • a person is vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine) we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out
  • they have taken a PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours
  • they are exempt on the basis of an approved medical exemption or clinical trial participation

Accepted proof can be any of the following:

  • the NHS COVID Pass
  • an approved international equivalent
  • a valid text or email confirmation of a recent test result

Full details are set out below.

This guidance applies to England. Scotland and Wales operate their own schemes on mandatory COVID-19 status checks.

On Wednesday 15 December, the coronavirus (COVID-19) rules on entering certain venues and events are changing.

From this date, if you are aged 18 or over, to enter certain venues and events in England you must have proof of one of the following:

  • you are vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine) we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out
  • you have taken a PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours to strengthen the protection testing provides you should take tests as late as possible before attending the event, ideally within 12 hours
  • you are exempt on the basis of a medical exemption or clinical trial participation

People who live in England can show their NHS COVID Pass to prove theyre vaccinated, have completed a negative PCR test or negative lateral flow test within the past 48 hours, or are exempt. People from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey or Guernsey can show their COVID-19 status proof, which will be recognised in England.

People who were vaccinated in another country can show alternative proof of vaccination if this is accepted at the UK border.

A valid text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace can also be used as proof a person has completed a negative PCR test or negative lateral flow test within the past 48 hours.

The NHS COVID Pass no longer gives details of natural immunity for entering certain venues and events. Proof of natural immunity cannot be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or a recent test.

It is also strongly advised that you apply COVID-19 status requirements for customer-facing workers at your venue or event. Read the Expectations for workers at your venue or event section below. There is also separate guidance for workers.

For more information on what the NHS COVID Pass is, how to get one and how to use it, read our separate guidance for the public.

Who this guidance is for

This page is for organisations (event organisers, venues, businesses) that are now required to use COVID-19 status checks as a condition of entry.

A venue or events responsible person is responsible for making sure the rules set out below are followed and organisations meet their legal responsibilities.

Read separate guidance for workers at venues or events now advised to use COVID-19 status checks here, including employees, other staff and volunteers, and people providing services to the event or venue.

Who is the responsible person

Each venue or event will have a responsible person who must comply with a number of obligations relating to the requirement to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry. This person should check where responsibility for data protection lies in their organisation.

You are the responsible person for a nightclub, dancehall, or discotheque, or other venue open after 1am with alcohol, music and dancing, if you are the venue manager.

You are the responsible person for an indoor or outdoor sports stadium, conference centre or exhibition hall or any public hall, live music venue, theatre or concert hall, which meets the relevant thresholds, if you are the venue manager.

The event organiser is the responsible person for:

  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees expected to stand or move around
  • any events with 10,000 or more attendees

If you are hiring out your venue for an event, you should discuss proof of vaccination or test requirements with the event organiser. If there is no event organiser, compliance with mandatory proof of vaccination or test requirements is the responsibility of the manager of the premises where the event is held.

Overview of the rules

This is a brief overview of the rules. More detail is given in the sections that follow.

Venues and events that must carry out COVID-19 status checks

Venues and events where the NHS COVID Pass, or alternative proofs of COVID-19 status, must be used as a condition of entry are:

  • nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
  • other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply:
    • the venue is open between 1am and 5am
    • it serves alcohol after 1am
    • it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
    • it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
  • events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

Exemptions to these rules apply, see below.

What organisations must do

Organisations must take reasonable steps to make sure that all visitors aged 18 or above show an NHS COVID Pass, or approved proof of vaccination, testing, or an exemption, to enter the venue or event.

Evidence of natural immunity must not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or testing.

Expectations for workers

COVID-19 status checks are not mandatory for workers, but organisations should take reasonable steps to make sure that all adults working or providing services (as an employee, contractor or volunteer) in customer-facing roles show evidence of one of the following:

  • a valid NHS COVID Pass
  • an acceptable alternative proof of either vaccination, clinical trial participation, or medical exemption, for example, international equivalents accepted at the UK border
  • an alternative proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, for example, text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace

Venues and events that must carry out COVID-19 status checks

The following venues and events are required to use the NHS COVID Pass (or alternative accepted proofs of COVID-19 status) as a condition of entry.

Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques

All nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques must use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry.

Other late night dance venues are also required to use the NHS COVID Pass. Late night dance venues are defined as any venue where all of the following apply:

  • the venue is open between 1am and 5am
  • it serves alcohol after 1am
  • it has a dancefloor or space for dancing
  • it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing

There are some situations where nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques and other late night dance venues do not have to use the NHS COVID Pass. These are:

  • if a venue operates an outdoor event, and there are fewer than 4,000 attendees at any one time
  • nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques which close their dancefloor, or cease to provide music
  • if a venue is only hosting da

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