People in Wales will need to show a pass proving they have been fully vaccinated or had a negative Covid test to attend clubs and large-scale events.
The new rules begin on 11 October.
Customers will be able to use an NHS Covid Pass to show they have been vaccinated, or had a negative lateral flow test in the past 48 hours.
The pass will be needed for clubs, indoor no-seating events with more than 500 people and outdoor no-seating events with more than 4,000 people.
It will also be required for any event with more than 10,000 people.
Passes will be available to anyone over the age of 16, though will only be compulsory for those aged over 18 to enter certain events.
It comes as Public Health Wales (PHW) reported eight further deaths with coronavirus and 2,618 new cases.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Cardiff Bay also said they were disappointed by the move, Plaid Cymru said it was “perplexed” by elements of the plan.
But Alys Scourfield, from Cardiff, who has cancer, said the announcement means she will now be able to go to watch Wales in the autumn nationals with her son, for what may be her final time.
First Minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement as part of the latest review of coronavirus restrictions, despite warnings from a nightclub trade body that the move may damage the nightclub industry.
“The last thing we want is further lockdowns and for businesses to have to close their doors once again,” he said.
“That’s why we must take small but meaningful action now to control the spread of the virus and reduce the need for tougher measures later.”
The Welsh government rejected the idea of a vaccine-only passport for large-scale events as it would discriminate against those who cannot get a vaccine, Mr Drakeford said in a news conference.
The first minister said only allowing the double-jabbed into nightclubs or sports matches raised “a series of ethical, legal and technical questions”.
Scotland is introducing vaccine passports on 1 October , but the Welsh government will use what is calls vaccine passes instead, which allow people to use a negative lateral flow test to gain entry.
Under the UK government’s winter plan, vaccine certification will be required for nightclubs and other large events in England if data suggests action is needed to “prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS”.
‘Nightclubs have been singled out’
Graeme Da Silva, regional director at Rekom, which manages the Pryzm and Fiction nightclubs in Cardiff and Swansea, said he was “frustrated” with the go-ahead for Covid passports.
“Once again nightclubs are being singled out,” he said.
Mr Da Silva said the move will cost the company money, whether that be in extra staffing or the loss of their walk-up trade.
“There is not much difference between a club and a nightclub at midnight on a Friday or Saturday. People are dancing, people are busy and actually nightclubs are a lot safer because of the ventilation we have.
“First to close, last to open and we’ve been picked on by the government. Despite all our efforts its been a really tough time for us.
“Our venues are at a really fragile state of recovery and many hundreds of jobs are at risk.
“Our customer and staff safety have been at the forefront of our agendas but, in the interest in fairness, we would have liked to see this across all retail and hospitality which makes it a difficult pill to swallow.”
Night Time Industries Association Wales said: “We are disappointed that the Welsh government has felt it must mandate Covid passports at this stage, albeit a more liberal implementation with the inclusion of testing.
“We still feel that these measures will have a negative impact on businesses, and will create considerable market distortion.”
And UK Hospitality’s executive director for Wales, David Chapman, said it would be an “extra burden” leading to closures and job losses.
He said it had made the case against passes because of difficulties including definitions of businesses and conflict with customers, all at the same time as a shortage of staff.
“Those affected businesses, already in a fragile state following repeated lockdowns and periods of onerous trading restrictions, now find themselves facing further economic and resourcing pressures,” he said.
‘This will make me feel much safer’
For Alys Scourfield, from Cardiff, the announcement of Covid passes has “changed her life”.
It means she will now be able to go to watch Wales in the autumn nationals with her son, for what may be her final time.
Mrs Scourfield’s “time is limited” after her cancer recently spread to her spine.
She said she would not go to an event with a large crowd unless she was sure everyone was double jabbed or had a negative test.
“I need to go out for mine and my children’s mental health and pretend to be a normal person for the short time I’ve got left,” she said.
“This will make me feel much safer and feel that I’ve done everything I can possibly do to reduce the risk.”
What do other parties think?
The leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, said he was disappointed by the announcement.
“Welsh Conservatives have been against the introduction of such documentation from the outset, due to the wide-ranging ethical, equality, privacy, legal, and operational ramifications,” he said.
“The inclusion of the lateral flow test element eases one area of concern but a whole host remain, particularly regarding the overall effectiveness of this measure and the impact it will have on businesses, jobs and Wales’ economic recovery.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman, said he was “a bit perplexed about elements of this Covid pass scheme”.
“It’s a much broader target base – we’re talking about football matches, not just nightclubs, so there are issues of implementation, certainly,” he said.
Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds promised to vote against the scheme if it faces a vote in the Senedd.
“I understand many people want to get back to a sense of normality, but vaccine passports are not the way to do this and we need to be careful about the precedent they set. They are medical ID cards in all but name and Welsh Liberal Democrats will lead the fight against their introduction.”
‘Build up our defences’
At Friday’s news conference, Mr Drakeford also said people should keep working from home where possible.
Although the guidance has no legal force, the Welsh government said it wanted to “reinforce the importance” of working from home.
Many large employers are already using “hybrid” models, with staff splitting time between home and the office.
Mr Drakeford said: “If you don’t need to be in the office, for example, please work from home whenever you can.
“In England, working from home is part of their Plan B – here in Wales is part of our Plan A and in line with that advice from Sage that we should build up our defences in the autumn and winter early.”
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