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16 December 2021 | Comment | Article by Martin Jones

Covid Pass from 15 December 2021 (England)

Blog written by Leah Ellison – Solicitor | Regulatory Team

From 6am on 15 December 2021, it will be compulsory for anyone over the age of 18 to provide proof of a ‘valid COVID-19 status’ in certain circumstances in England. ‘Valid COVID-19 status’ means providing evidence that an individual either: is doubly vaccinated (or a single dose of the Janssen vaccine); has had a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours; or that they are medically exempt.

Please note that this article applies to England only. You can read more about the position in Wales here.

Applicable Premises

The Government guidance is that all nightclubs, discotheques and dance halls must require the COVID pass as a condition of entry. These premises must check the COVID status of their visitors at all times.

Other late night dance venues will also require COVID passes to be shown on entry where the following conditions apply:

  1. The premises is open between 1am and 5am;
  2. The premises serves alcohol after 1am;
  3. The premises has a dancefloor or space for dancing; and
  4. The premises provides music (live or recorded) for dancing.

If all of the above conditions are met, the premises must ensure that all visitors who are at the premises after 1am have a valid NHS COVID pass.

Premises exemptions

There are some instances where venues such as nightclubs will not have to use the COVID pass requirement. These are:

  • Nightclubs (or similar premises) that close their dancefloor;
  • Nightclubs (or similar premises) that case to provide music;
  • Where a premises is hosting a dance or exercise class, ballroom, amateur or professional dance performances; or
  • Where a premises is hosting an exempt event. A full list of exempt events can be found here.


The following events will also require proof of valid COVID-19 status:

  • Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people attending;
  • Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people attending; or
  • Any venue with more than 10,000 people attending.

Exempt Persons

Anyone under the age of 18 will be exempt from the requirement to have an NHS COVID pass. Note, however, that attendees under 18 years old do count as attendees for the purposes of attendance thresholds. Also exempt are local authority officers, emergency services responders and diplomats/someone working for a foreign organisation.

Note that the position in England in respect of workers differs from that in Wales. The guidance states that it is recommended that you should ensure that adult workers (including employees, volunteers, workers and contractors) who come into contact with the public, have the NHS COVID pass.

Further information can be found at:

Carrying out mandatory COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For more information or advice, please contact our Regulatory Team.

Author bio

As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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