A picture taken on March 3, 2021 in Paris shows a vaccine vial reading "Covid-19 vaccine" and a syringe next to an European passport. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
Rangers have confirmed vaccine passport checks WILL be in operation ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Hibernian at Ibrox on Sunday, with the game being used as a “test event”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that Scotland will enter a delayed two-week “grace period” starting from Friday, October 1 until October 18 to allow Scottish football clubs more time to prepare for the changes.
Under a new set of measures, sports fans attending large-scale events or football grounds with a capacity of over 10,000 in Scotland will have to prove they have been fully vaccinated against Coronavirus in order to gain entry.
Speaking in Hollyrood, Sturgeon stated: “Many other countries are already demonstrating the value of Covid certification.
“It is for these reasons that Cabinet decided this morning to proceed with the laying of the regulations that will bring such a scheme into operation.
“However, we are also determined to listen and, as far as possible, respond to the reasonable concerns of business, so that the introduction and practical implementation of the scheme is as smooth as possible.”
Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers and Hearts have advised supporters they are both still required by law to carry out random spot-checks pre-match this weekend.
It will provide Celtic with an insight as to how the checks will be carried out on a match day.
In a statement released to supporters, Rangers said: “Ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Premiership match against Hibernian, we once again highlight the introduction of vaccine certificate checks across Scotland.
“Sunday’s game is a “test event” and thus, we are required by law, to carry out the same procedures as when the “grace period” is over.
“For the avoidance of doubt, following legislation introduced by the Scottish Government, everyone attending matches at Ibrox Stadium must be fully vaccinated and everyone must bring proof of this status with you to the match, unless exempt.
“Those exempt for medical reasons or due to participation in vaccine trials are asked to carry an official letter to confirm this.”
It remains unclear if proof of vaccination will be required for Scotland’s World Cup Qualifier against Israel and Hampden Park next month, but supporters are urged to maintain a record of their status.
The Scottish Government hope the new certificate scheme, which is subject to parliamentary review every three weeks, will prove a significant step forward in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19.
So how can supporters get their hands on a vaccine passport and what will happen on a match day?
GlasgowWorld addresses the commonly asked questions.
What should I do pre-match?
The new law applies to all events where attendances are bigger than 10,000. This means Celtic fans attending Parkhead and Rangers fans travelling to Ibrox will need to show proof of their vaccine status at the turnstiles or around the ground.
Supporters can download their vaccination status digitally to their phone from the NHS Inform website or print of a hard copy. Certificates can also be sent out via post but will take longer to arrive.
The term “fully vaccinated” refers to both doses of a UK-recognised jab – Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna.
Anyone that is medically exempt or fans under the age of 18 do not require any proof.
Providing a negative test result as an alternative to a vaccine passport will NOT be accepted.
What should I do on a matchday?
Supporters will have feared missing the start of games had wholesale checks been required but Scotland’s football authorities have been told random spot-checks will be in place outside stadiums to avoid huge delays.
A spokesperson for the Joint Response Group said: “Both the Scottish FA and the SPFL wholeheartedly support the national effort to eradicate Covid-19.
“We have been in discussions with Scottish Government officials regarding the practical implications of vaccine passports for major events, and in particular the risk of health and safety issues and crowd disorder if fans are delayed getting into stadiums, which everyone naturally wants to avoid.
“We are keen to explore whether any vaccine passport regime can include spot-checks, rather than blanket inspections of everyone attending games.”
If you are still awaiting a vaccine appointment or are unable to get one, you will need to bring proof of this to show to a steward.
Fans are also encouraged to keep adhering to current guidelines such as mask wearing and taking lateral flow tests to minimise the risk of catching Covid-19.