Poker players in England are now required to present proof of vaccination before being allowed to take part in live tournaments. The vaccine requirement is among new measures taking effect across the country starting December 15, as the threat of COVID-19 continues.
The no pass, no entry measure is part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Plan B” rules which were approved by MPs on Tuesday. The government has introduced new restrictions over the past few days as the country battles an Omicron “tidal wave”, with infections doubling every two to three days. On Monday, the UK reported its first death from the new variant.

Impact of New Restrictions on Live Poker

Under the new guidelines, vaccine passports will be required at indoor venues with over 500 people where they’re expected to stand or move around, outdoor unseated venues with more than 4,000 people who are likely to stand and move around, and any venue with over 10,000 people regardless if it’s indoors or outdoors.
Based on the new rules, live tournaments most likely belong to the first category, with players usually moving around while events are ongoing. The COVID-19 pass is the latest requirement that players must fulfill if they want to continue participating in live tournaments across the country at least for now. On Friday, December 10, the government also reinstated the mandatory wearing of facemasks at indoor venues, including casinos.
It remains to be seen whether the government would resort to a lockdown mandate if the situation worsens. But if this happens, the live poker scene, which has only reopened months ago after the initial wave of lockdowns in March 2020, will shut its doors once again. The country is ramping up its vaccination campaign to prevent this worst-case scenario.

How to Get a COVID-19 Pass in England

Those entering live tournaments with 500+ people should provide a vaccination pass which can be obtained via the NHS COVID app. You need to be fully vaccinated (received two doses of the vaccine, except for the single Jansen dose) to get the pass.
Alternatively, players may also present a negative PCR or lateral flow test (LFT) result. You must ensure though that you’ve taken the test in the past 48 hours.
You may also get the pass via the NHS website or request a letter by calling 119. The letter will provide details concerning your vaccination status. You may also present your COVID-19 status via text or email sent to you by the NHS.
The vaccine pass, negative test result, or vaccination letter must be presented upon entry at the venue. People who are exempt on medical grounds or presently involved in a clinical trial won’t have to present a COVID pass.
The COVID-19 pass will also be required at nightclubs, as well as other venues operating between 1am and 5 am that serve alcohol, has a designated space for dancing, or play live or recorded music for dancing.

Some Casinos Oppose Vaccine Passports                                   

For the time being, casinos are exempt from making COVID-19 passes a condition for entry, but patrons are still required to wear a facemask while inside. This is welcomed by several industry representatives, including Ian Haworth of the Hippodrome who opposes the implementation of vaccination passports.
The Hippodrome is one of London’s largest casino and is among licensed businesses that signed the Open For All charter.
The question as to whether vaccine passports should be made mandatory has been a widely debated subject. While many agree to the measure as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, others are strongly opposed as it could lead to discrimination and violation of human rights.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff