John McGinley at 67HailHail has put up a good piece today on vaccine passports and how Celtic needs to start preparing for them. I am sure this is a major cause for concern at our club, with this measure almost certain to pass into law for use in Scotland.
This is one of the things I grimly predicted a few weeks ago, as the numbers started to rise and then, suddenly, went through the roof.
It hardly needs to be said that I’m broadly in favour of such a law. Anything that makes our football stadiums safer needs to be considered, especially as pleas for fans to wear masks continue to fall on deaf ears. I watch the numbers closely; we’re now averaging 6000 cases a day and hospital numbers climb by double figures with every update.
That’s untenable, and especially as we head into winter.
Let’s remember that football is not a right, it’s a luxury.
As frustrating as it may be for all of us, it is the government’s role to legislate in the public interest and that’s what they are doing here.
There are rights and wrongs on every side of this debate, but my sympathies lie with those who choose to get vaccinations not only to protect themselves but because they feel a social responsibility to do so.
The UK government is not about to make vaccination compulsory.
That will never happen.
All they can do is urge people to get them. People will make their own decisions about that, in the same way as you can still make a decision not to wear a seat-belt in the back of a car. That’s an analogy I often hear when this issue comes up for debate.
I prefer to use another road-safety analogy; speed limits.
Although they place restrictions on our behaviour they exist as a social protection. Getting behind the wheel is conditional on following the highway code. If vaccine passports are coercive, maybe speed limits are too, although I don’t know too many people who made that argument.
The complexities of this aren’t going to matter; the Scottish Government is going to do this and the government is Westminster has already announced its intention to do the same. This isn’t a philosophical debate, where we can go back and forth on who’s case is stronger any more, it’s about to become the law of the land.
Only the logistics of it are still up for debate, and the SFA and Celtic and other clubs can raise a stink about it in the way other industries will but whilst we do it we also need to start preparing for it.
It presents us with some difficulties, but I actually think because the number of vaccinations is so high that it’s an issue which doesn’t affect too many fans.
The trick will be to process us in the most efficient and responsible way; John suggests tying the vaccination status to our active season tickets. Since most of them are registered online that should be easy enough to do.
There are holes in that system. There will be holes in any system people want to use. That’s undeniable and so in my ways you could argue that the system itself will be unworkable to a certain extent … but no system is going to get everybody and it’s about making the best of it.
Most people will play ball. Most people will do the right thing and our grounds will become a little safer.
Numbers will eventually drop.
We are actually going to beat this thing, as hard as that is to believe right now.
Things will return to normal.
But until then, vigilance is the key and the government knows it.