Guidance

Prove your coronavirus (COVID-19) status to work at venues or events operating COVID-19 status checks

Guidance on proving your coronavirus (COVID-19) status if you work at venues or events, and where this is advised.

Applies to England

Change of rules on 27 January

From 27 January, it will no longer be mandatory for venues to require attendees to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. However, some venues or events may still choose to require proof of COVID-19 status as a condition of entry to reduce risk for attendees and staff. You will be able to show vaccination status, a recent negative test or exemption through the NHS COVID Pass.

This guidance applies to England. Scotland and Wales operate their own mandatory certification schemes.

To enter certain venues and events in England, people aged 18 or above must either:

  • be fully vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine)
  • have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours, or
  • be exempt

You do not currently need a booster to get an NHS COVID Pass. We will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out.

Customer-facing workers in venues or events where certification applies are strongly advised to be vaccinated or regularly testing.

If you live in England, you can show your NHS COVID Pass to prove:

  • you’re vaccinated
  • have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours
  • or are exempt

COVID-19 status proof from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man will be recognised in England.

If you were vaccinated in another country, you can show alternative proof of vaccination if this is accepted at the UK border for entry into the UK.

A valid text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace can also be used as proof that you have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours. You can only use tests from NHS Test and Trace, and not privately provided tests.

The NHS COVID Pass no longer gives details of natural immunity. Proof of natural immunity should not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

There is information on what the NHS COVID Pass is, how to get one and how to use it.

Who this guidance is for

This page is for workers (including employees, other staff and volunteers, and people providing services to the event or venue) who are now advised to use the NHS COVID Pass, or equivalent proof, to access certain venues or events.

Your employer may provide separate guidance or have additional requirements relating to COVID-19 safety.

Read separate guidance for organisations (including event organisers, venues, and businesses) now required to use the NHS COVID Pass.

Read further information about what the NHS COVID Pass is.

If you’re an adult working or providing services (as an employee, contractor or volunteer) in venues or events which require evidence of your COVID-19 status, you should show either:

  • a valid NHS COVID Pass
  • an acceptable alternative proof of either vaccination, clinical trial participation, or medical exemption, for example, international equivalents accepted at the UK border
  • alternative proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, for example, text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace

This does not apply if you’re a worker in a care home because full vaccination (or valid exemption) is required for all those entering care homes. Read guidance on vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes.

Venues or events at which proof of COVID-19 status is advised

Venues where the NHS COVID Pass is required for visitors

You should prove your vaccine-or-test COVID-19 status to work at all nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques. It is advised that you prove your COVID-19 status to work in customer-facing roles at all these venues at all times, unless they are not acting as a nightclub (for example by closing their dancefloor) or they are holding an exempt event (see the Exempt activities section below).

Other venues acting as nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques

You are also advised to prove your COVID-19 status to work in customer-facing roles in all other venues that:

  • are open at any point between 1am and 5am
  • serve alcohol after 1am
  • have a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
  • provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing

Unless they are holding an exempt event (see the Exempt activities section below).

Venues meeting these criteria are advised to ensure that all those working from 1am have proof of COVID-19 status. Venues will be able to choose how they do this, which could include conducting checks before 1am.

Events where visitors need a NHS COVID Pass

You should also prove your COVID-19 status to work in customer-facing roles at events where attendees must prove their COVID-19 status. These are:

  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as music venues with standing audiences, or large receptions)
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as outdoor festivals)
  • any events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor (such as large sports and music events)

Events are defined as including:

  • an entertainment, a performance, or similar occasion
  • a competition, race, match or other sporting event
  • a celebration, ball, reception or other organised social event
  • a conference, presentation, trade show, business reception, award show or a charitable auction

Exempt activities

Some venues are not advised to check proof of your COVID-19 status unless they are holding a specific event (such as a performance or reception) that meets the attendance thresholds.

The use of the NHS COVID Pass is not advised for participation in sporting activity, regardless of number of participants or whether the activity is indoors or outdoors.

There are also some events where you won’t be advised to prove your COVID-19 status to work. These include:

  • communal worship
  • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies)
  • receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, or a public body)
  • funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub)
  • outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals)
  • events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter

More details about the venues and events where you should demonstrate your COVID-19 status as a condition of entry are in the guidance page for organisations.

Workers who should prove their COVID-19 status

If you’re an adult working or providing services, particularly if you’re coming into contact with customers, in venues or events which require evidence of COVID-19 status for visitors, you should be either:

  • fully vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine) – we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out
  • exempt from vaccination (for medical reasons or because you participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial)
  • undertaking regular, lateral flow testing

or

  • an exempt person (conducting their official duties)

The responsible person for the venue or event is strongly advised to take reasonable measures to ensure all adults working in roles that come into contact with members of the public meet the COVID-19 status requirements.

If you do not meet the COVID-19 status requirements, the responsible person is strongly advised to deny you entry to the venue or event.

If you work at a venue or event that requires evidence of your COVID-19 status for visitors but you’re working in a role that does not come into contact with customers, you do not need to show evidence of vaccination or testing.

Example

If you work as a cleaner for a nightclub that’s subject to certification, and attend the venue to provide services outside of opening hours or while not coming into contact with any members of the public, it’s advised that you do not need to certify.

Example

If you work as a chef at a venue hosting an event that is subject to certification, and do not come into contact with any members of the public, it’s advised that you do not need to certify.

Getting an NHS COVID Pass

As a worker, you’re able to use the same proof of your COVID-19 status as visitors to events and venues, including the NHS COVID Pass or accepted international equivalents.

If you are vaccinated, a clinical trial participant, have a medical exemption from vaccination (or from vaccination and testing), or have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours, you’ll have certified status within the domestic NHS COVID Pass. You can use this as proof.

You can show your COVID-19 status in the NHS COVID Pass without revealing on what grounds you received your status and without displaying additional personal medical data to your employer.

Find more information on what the NHS COVID Pass is, how to get one and how to use it.

If you are relying on testing to prove your COVID-19 status

If you are not vaccinated or exempt, you should complete regular testing if you’re in a role in which you come into contact with members of the public.

You should report your test result (see below for guidance on how to do this). Your test result will be valid (and will give you a valid NHS COVID Pass) for 48 hours. The time the test was taken will be shown on the text or email showing your results.

All NHS COVID passes will display an expiration date. You should take your test as late as possible before attending the venue or event, ideally within 12 hours, to strengthen the protection that testing provides. You’re advised to take another test before the end of this window if you’re working for a consecutive period that’s longer than 48 hours.

You should complete your test and show a negative test result or your NHS COVID Pass when asked to by your employer or the responsible person at the venue or event where you’re working.

Example

You work consecutive shifts at a venue or event subject to mandatory certification from Monday to Saturday evening. You come into contact with customers, are unvaccinated and not exempt. You’re advised to take a test no more than 48 hours before your Monday shift.

You choose to take a test on the Monday morning, which covers you for Monday and Tuesday. You should take a further test on Wednesday morning as it is longer than 48 hours after your previous test, and could take another test sooner. This covers you for Wednesday and Thursday. A third test on Friday morning would mean you’re now covered until the end of Saturday.

How to get tests

You can use tests you already have at home, order your rapid lateral flow tests online or at no cost from your local pharmacy or community testing site.

You should order tests from NHS Test and Trace, and not use privately provided tests.

Reporting test results

You should report your test result, positive or negative, to have proof that you have completed it, to NHS Test and Trace. This can be done online at Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result or by calling 119. You’ll then receive a text or email notification which you should display to the person checking that you have completed your test.

A valid notification of your test result from NHS Test and Trace should include:

  • your name
  • your age or date of birth
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • confirmation that the test was either a polymerase chain reaction test or a lateral flow test confirmation that the test result was negative

If you reported a negative result you’ll also receive access to the NHS COVID Pass. This access will expire 48 hours after the time you took the test.

What to do if you get a positive test result, or you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you do a rapid lateral flow test at home or at a test site and the result is positive, you must self-isolate straight away and follow the stay at home guidance. You should also tell the people you live with and check if they need to self-isolate.

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) you must self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow the stay at home guidance.

If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result but do not have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should report your result and self-isolate. You do not need to take a follow-up PCR test unless:

  • you want to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
  • you have a health condition that means you may be suitable for new COVID-19 treatments
  • you are taking rapid lateral flow tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks you to do so
  • you are an international arrival and have a positive day 2 rapid lateral flow test

You must self-isolate from the day your symptoms started or from the day you receive a positive test result if you do not have symptoms.

You can end your self-isolation on the sixth day of self-isolation following 5 full days isolating and 2 negative rapid lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first rapid lateral flow test should not be taken before the fifth day.

The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from 2 rapid lateral flow tests taken a day apart. This is the law, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.

If you get an inconclusive result, you should take further tests until you get a conclusive (either positive or negative) result.

If you do not have a valid negative test result, and are not vaccinated or exempt, the responsible person for the venue or event is strongly advised to deny you entry to the venue or event you would otherwise be working at.

Visitors from the rest of the UK

Your COVID Pass from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Crown Dependencies will be recognised in England.

International visitors

If you are an international visitor and your vaccination proof is accepted at the UK border, this will also be accepted for entry into places where the NHS COVID Pass is being used.

See the full list of currently approved countries and territories.

You may be asked to show evidence of your COVID-19 status from the country in which you were vaccinated.

If you took part in the United Kingdom vaccine roll-out overseas (with a Medicines and Healthcare Products Authority-approved vaccine), you’ll also be able to prove your vaccination status through the NHS COVID Pass when entering settings with mandatory certification.

If you live in England and have been vaccinated abroad with eligible vaccines, you’ll also be able to demonstrate your vaccine status through the NHS COVID Pass.

Protecting your data

Your COVID-19 vaccination status is held securely within the NHS App. It can only be accessed via the NHS login service.

Read more information on protecting your data.

You can find further information about data privacy in the NHS App privacy notice, the NHS COVID Pass privacy notice and the NHS COVID Pass Verifier App privacy notice.

Who to contact if you have issues with the NHS COVID Pass

The NHS COVID Pass guidance is available should you experience any issue in using the NHS COVID Pass.

You can also download and show an offline version (or print and show the printed version) if you’re unable to access the live version.

Anyone making, adapting, supplying or offering to supply someone with false evidence of their COVID-19 status is liable to prosecution or a fixed penalty notice of up to £10,000. Higher penalties may apply under other primary legislation, for example the Fraud Act 2006.

Published 13 December 2021
Last updated 19 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'What to do if you get a positive test result' section to reflect change in self-isolation rules - people who test positive can stop self-isolating on day 6 if they have negative rapid lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6. Added a reference to the change in rules on 27 January, when it will no longer be mandatory for venues to check the COVID-19 status of attendees as a condition of entry.

  2. Updated the section 'What to do if you get a positive or inconclusive test result' to reflect that from 11 January, asymptomatic people in England with a positive lateral flow test are no longer advised to take a confirmatory PCR test to confirm they have COVID-19.

  3. Guidance updated to reflect changes to the self-isolation advice for people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result.

  4. First published.