Covid in Scotland: Negative test to get into clubs, gigs and events

People can now show evidence of a negative Covid test to get into clubs, concerts or large events in Scotland.

A text or email showing a negative test result will be accepted as an alternative to a vaccine passport.

Previously people were only allowed into large events or nightclubs if they could provide proof of vaccination.

Some businesses said the earlier scheme was “disproportionate” but ministers said it allowed “higher risk settings” to operate more safely.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the change to the scheme about two weeks ago, before the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Since then 48 people have tested positive for the new Covid strain which is beginning to be spread through the community.

  • How does Scotland’s vaccine passport work?
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“It is also allowing higher risk settings to continue to operate more safely. This change makes it possible for people to show proof of a negative test as an alternative to proof of vaccination.”

It has led to ministers urging people to take more regular lateral flow (LFD) tests over the Christmas season and before mixing with other households.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed details of the booster vaccination will be included on Covid passports for international travel from 9 December.

He said that it will be expanded for domestic certification – and could eventually become a requirement for entry into clubs, concerts and large events.


negative lateral flow test

Image source, Getty Images

Mr Swinney told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “That’s a separate issue that we will come on to, but the vaccine certification app will enable us to do that.

“There are certain timescale issues (regarding) when people will be eligible for a booster vaccination, based on when they have had their second jag.

“So we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a reasonable and proportionate approach to that.

“These are questions we will consider as we look at the further rollout of any measures on vaccine certification.”

Reduced risk

Mr Swinney previously said there had been increase in demand for the rapid tests.

“Covid certification is playing a positive role in reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19,” he said.

“It is also allowing higher risk settings to continue to operate more safely. This change makes it possible for people to show proof of a negative test as an alternative to proof of vaccination.”

He asked people to “significantly step up and increase compliance with public health measures” during the Christmas party season.

“This includes using LFD testing more regularly as well as getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings and working from home where possible,” he added.

“I have been heartened to see that there has been a significant increase in demand for tests recently, and would encourage all households to have and use a regular supply of the tests.”


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Where do you need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result?

  • late night premises with music, which serve alcohol at any time between midnight and 05:00 and have a designated place for dancing for customers
  • indoor events (unseated) with 500 or more people
  • outdoor events (unseated) with 4,000 or more people
  • any event with 10,000 or more people


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Under the new rules, people must show their vaccine passport or evidence of a negative PCR or LFD test result taken within the previous 24 hours to gain entry to specific events

LFD test kit instructions include details about how to register a test result online or by phone. Once it is registered, an email and text is issued to confirm the result and that can be used to gain entry.

Tests can be ordered online or collected from a pharmacy or test site.

Work is also under way to make them more widely available, including at shopping centres, supermarkets, garden centres, sports grounds and transport hubs.


Woman showing vaccine passports

Image source, Getty Images

Negative test results were not included in the original vaccine passport plan because ministers wanted to use the scheme to drive up vaccine uptake.

Announcing the change in parliament in November, Ms Sturgeon said high uptake rates meant testing could now be included as an alternative.

Earlier this year the vaccine passport scheme was challenged by the nightclub industry in court.

They claimed it was “discriminatory” and “disproportionate” but the judge ruled in favour of the government, saying it was an attempt to address “legitimate issues” in a “balanced way”.

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