ARGUMENTS over whether Wales should introduce Covid passes next week have continued in the Senedd on Tuesday afternoon.

Members of the Senedd met in a hybrid format to debate whether Covid passes will need to be used to gain entry to mass events and nightclubs in the country.

The Welsh Government proposed plans to introduce a requirement for people to show their vaccination status or recent negative rest results before attending certain events.

If voted for, this would come into force from Monday and would include:

  • Nightclubs
  • Indoor, non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions
  • Outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people
  • Any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance

A similar scheme has been introduced in Scotland, however, in England, vaccine passports will only be required if data suggests that action is needed.

Members of the Senedd took part in a 45-minute debate on October 5 to discuss the matter of which opinions were divided.

However after a lengthy debate, members voted FOR the law change.

Opening the debate, health minister Eluned Morgan said the scheme was a least-worst option, allowing nightclubs and other venues to stay open.

She said the country faces a 'very difficult and challenging autumn and winter'.

During the debate, Brecon and Radnorshire MS James Evans said he ‘wholeheartedly opposes’ the plans as Welsh Government is leading the public down an ‘extremely slippery slope’.

He said this creates a system which would ‘discriminate people’ because of a single issue and will create a ‘two-tiered society’.

He went on to say those who are vaccinated can still catch and spread the virus and our freedoms ‘must be preserved at all costs’.

Lib Dem Jane Dodds said she supports the ‘cautious approach’ Wales has made but ‘cannot support’ these proposals.

She went on to add this was ‘poor law making’ that could ‘set a dangerous precedent’.

Members were urged to carry on with ‘what works’ such as masks and hygiene and distance.

However, Labour's Mid and West Wales MS Joyce Watson said she was for the idea. She went on to say we do not have a human right to enter a nightclub, but individuals have a responsibility to others.

If people are not checked when going into venues, there will be less staff because they will have caught Covid and will be ‘running on empty’.

She went on to say they are trying to protect workers and people, and the Covid vaccine pass is ‘not the biggest ask’ they have asked of residents so far.

Eluned Morgan, Health Minister, said this has been ‘challenging’ for Welsh Government.

She added Wales is facing the highest number of cases seen in the pandemic and something must be done to stop the turbo charging of the virus spread.

Ms Morgan said many Welsh young people came back from holidays and spread the virus and they must do something to address the situation.

She said: “The Covid pass remains a tool in the UK Government in their own winter plan and it is quite possible we will see the reintroduction of this measure in the United Kingdom.

“Plaid asked us to back what works. This system has been working the last 14 months. We know some venues have been using this system.”

She said ‘no one is being forced to be vaccinated’, there is availability for people to have a test to show they do not have the virus.

She said SAGE are saying to ‘act early and act now’, but every day they hesitate, those rates will go up and ‘put more pressure on NHS services’.

She told members that not accepting this, they are happy to ‘do nothing’ and would be a ‘gross irresponsibility’ to public health, adding that the public is ‘on our side’.

In the vote, 28 members voted for the change and 27 against, meaning the law change is passed.

Conservative MS Darren Millar could be heard claiming a member was unable to join by zoom which could have influenced the final decision.

If it had been a tie, the deciding vote would have gone to the Presiding Officer who would have had to vote against.

Presiding Officer Elin Jones said 'all attempts' to get the MS onto the relevant software had taken place, including 'sharing my personal phone'.