FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford has said the purpose of the Covid pass was “not to penalise any business, it’s to give that business an extra defence to allow it to continue to operate”.

Asked about the close vote in the Senedd on having Covid passes, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was an extraordinary moment, but what was really extraordinary was the fact that opposition parties were not prepared to support this simple measure which will help to keep people safe from coronavirus.”

He added: “The vote is taken on the floor of the Parliament, the way the vote is conducted is not for the Government, that is for the Parliament. It is members’ responsibilities to make sure they are in the chamber or on Zoom and 59 of 60 members managed to do that.”

 

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford

 

On nightclubs, he said: “The point of the Covid pass is to allow businesses to stay open.

“If we don’t have this defence and coronavirus numbers rise over the autumn and the winter, then these are the venues which will be the first to be closed. So, the purpose of it is not to penalise any business, it’s to give that business an extra defence to allow it to continue to operate.”

He spoke as Covid passes are to be introduced in Wales after the Welsh Government won the tight vote in the Senedd.

The Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the single Liberal Democrat MS were branded “grossly irresponsible” for voting against the proposals.

They had raised concerns about civil liberties and the details of the plan, which would see the NHS Covid Pass be mandatory for all adults wishing to enter nightclubs or attend certain large events.

It will come into force from October 11 and it would mean all over-18s would need to have one to enter 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 and any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

People would also be able to show they have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

During a debate in the Senedd, health and social care minister Eluned Morgan said the public was on the Welsh Government’s side.

She said Wales was facing some of the highest infection rates since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly among young people, and the government had to take action to prevent super-spreader events.