Irvine's R&A Sports Bar will not enforce vaccine passports for employees or customers – even if stricter measures are introduced later.

The High Street watering hole will close earlier than usual – now 12.30am with last orders being called at 11.45pm – to avoid checking the vaccine status of punters.

Owner Rosemary Reid, who is double vaccinated, believes getting the jab should be a personal choice and not a government mandate.

She told Ayrshire Live: "The decision was made because I have a lot of customers who say the vaccine passport is discriminating from personal choice.

"I'm double vaccinated but I believe vaccinating should be a choice and not be forced by the government."

The Scottish Government's vaccine passport scheme came into effect on Friday, October 1 and applies to 'nightclubs and analogous venues'.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defined a nightclub as: "A venue open between midnight and 5am, serve alcohol after midnight, plays live or recorded music for dancing, and has a designated space for dancing that is in use."

Rosemary blasted the rules as 'confusing' and believes there are flaws with issuing a mandatory vaccine passports policy.

She said: "We normally close at one o'clock, and usually call last orders at 12.30. We're not a nightclub or a late-night venue but we're changing our closing time to avoid enforcing passports.

"The rules are very confusing, the app hasn't been working since day one and those who are exempt haven't gotten their certificates yet.

"Those who don't have a passport or driver's licence – which quite a few people don't – will have to get a physical certificate.

"It's a minefield basically and I'm not going to do it."

The bureaucracy of checking those vaccinated is also a costly venture, insists Rosemary.

"I feel that the Scottish Government have put us in this position with 22,000 other licensed premises in Scotland who now have to adhere to this Covid passport," she added.

"I can't afford to pay someone £15 per hour to stand at the door – according to the guidelines they should have an SIA Badge – to check every single person that comes through the door.

"If there is harsher enforcement I'll stand my ground."

Rosemary reckons enforcing vaccine passports will open the door to staff being abused.

She said: "There are a lot of people against this and I don't want to put staff at risk of being abused by someone who isn't allowed inside."

The Scottish Government say the scheme will be kept under regular review, with three-weekly parliamentary assessments.

The Carrick pub, which is also based in Irvine and not a nightclub, says they will follow vaccine passport mandates if they expand their venue and events.

Meanwhile, Irvine nightclub Pitchers has confirmed it will follow vaccine passport protocols.

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