A WORCESTER wine bar could consult customers over whether to implement vaccination passports when Covid-19 restrictions allow it to reopen.

Richard Everton, owner of Bottles Wine Bar and Merchants in New St, Worcester, said he would “welcome” the idea of people having to show they have been vaccinated against the virus but insisted that view would not be pushed on customers against their will.

The bar will wait to see whether the government, which is set to review the idea of people being required to show proof of vaccination to enter UK leisure premises, implements such a measure before asking for feedback. 

“It is certainly something we would put out to our customers through a questionnaire to see whether it is something they would buy into,” said Mr Everton.

“If our loyal customers opposed it then we wouldn’t force it on them but if they felt it was showing due diligence and they were happy, it is something we would do.

“Our demographic will almost certainly have had their vaccines by the time we reopen and I would imagine they would be pro-vaccine.

“We do not pack in young people with two-for-ones and things like that so I think any measures we can take to make our customers feel safe and comfortable should be explored.

“To think everything will be exactly as it was before on June 21 would be stretching it.

“Vaccines will make a difference and I wouldn’t be against the vaccine passport. Going forward, there is going to be a requirement for some kind of distancing, certainly until the end of the year in my view, but we will see.”

Indoor hospitality will not return until May 17 at the earliest and while that places more strain on pressurised businesses like Mr Everton’s, it is a price he is willing to pay provided this lockdown is the last.

“There appears to be no curfew like before and we are looking forward to opening,” he added.

“The ability to operate outside (from April 12) is no good for us, we can’t do it, but once we get to indoors and the rule of six we can at least start to ease our way back in and hopefully get to trade properly further on.

“I think it is critically important that this is the last lockdown and that we don’t stumble back into it.

“As hard as it is, it is important not to rush and go back into the situation we found ourselves in over the summer and Christmas.”

He added that support measures had been “nowhere near adequate” for his industry. 

“Like everyone we have had to suffer losses,” said Mr Everton.

“We have had support from grants and having business rates suspended, the furlough scheme has been good but unfortunately we have not had the support of our landlord like some places have. We have had to pay full rent throughout lockdown.

“We have been prudent and have reserves and we have also developed other parts of the business like home deliveries.

“It is frustrating to work so hard on building up a business only to have it turned on its head through no fault of your own.”