Supermarket cafés could be forced to demand customers show Covid passports under plans for a clampdown being considered by ministers in Scotland and Wales.
The Scottish government is expected to roll out extended Covid precautions next week, as it seeks to head off a new winter wave of the virus.
It is understood cafés within supermarkets are being considered as part of the clampdown, although supermarket stores themselves have been assured customers will not need to show their Covid passports to gain entry.
Yesterday deputy first minister John Swinney said the Scottish government was considering plans to extend the use of passports due to “concerningly high” infection rates, which he warned could spread “very quicky” over Christmas.
The government has also warned of a possible spike in cases as a consequence of the COP26 conference.
However, retail leaders have warned they could face a severe financial hit if cafés became next in the firing line.
“Presumably any enhanced regime of Covid restrictions would be made on a scientific basis,” said David Lonsdale, Scottish Retail Consortium director.
“While Covid status certification may well have a role in some settings, we are sceptical of their value in stores and in the likes of coffee shops and retailers’ restaurants.
“It would have practical and operational challenges, especially with many shops often relying on impulse or ad hoc purchases from customers. Also, instances of abuse towards shopworkers have spiked during the pandemic, as retailers and store colleagues have taken on additional safety responsibilities and legal duties. We are keen to avoid anything that might increase the potential for yet more flashpoints between customers and store colleagues.”
Meanwhile the Welsh government has announced it will extend Covid vaccination certificates to cinemas and theatres, although plans for extra restrictions in supermarkets such as cafés have yet to emerge.
Supermarket sources said they believe it is unlikely the UK government would look to bring in further restrictions in supermarkets, having so far been less restrictive than Scotland and Wales when it comes to such measures.