The Welsh government will introduce compulsory COVID passes for nightclubs and major sporting events.
The Labour-led Welsh parliament said that the pass, which is set to take effect on Monday, was necessary to reduce rising COVID-19 infection rates, particularly among young people in Wales, Senedd voted in favour 28 to 27.
Read this next: How to help clubs reopen safely and for the long haul
Last month, Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, stressed that nightclubs and tightly packed events should be monitored more closely due to the lack of ventilation available in these spaces, insisting "Many other places already use some form of COVID passes".
In a statement, the Welsh government stated that the initiative will relieve any potential burden on the NHS and assist clubs in remaining open this winter.
Drakeford dismissed the notion that the programme was essentially a vaccine passport, pointing out that the Welsh permit could be obtained by taking a lateral flow test.
Eluned Morgan, the Welsh health minister, claimed COVID infections were on the rise in Wales, particularly among young people, with rates of 1,000 per 100,000 for those under 25. According to Morgan, these are the individuals who are most likely to frequent nightclubs. She admitted that keeping such places open had been a difficult decision given the high COVID rates.
“We are facing some of the highest rates we have seen since the start of the pandemic. We have to do something to stop the turbocharging.”
“There is a need to take early action to avoid long term harms. The scientists are telling us to act early, act now. Every day we hesitate those rates go up and we will put more pressure on the NHS. Not supporting this measure will be an act of gross irresponsibility.”
Read this next: Plans for vaccine passports in England have been scrapped
The passes, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents 100 venues in Wales, are "a significant barrier" to their operations. It said that operators couldn't afford the additional costs and logistical difficulties that a COVID pass would imply.
According to the NHS website, an NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You can get a digital copy of your pass on the NHS app or using the online NHS COVID Pass system.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter