Theaters, cinemas and other licensed venues are likely to require customers to show proof of their vaccination status from 6 December in an attempt to curb the rising Covid cases in Scotland.
Evidence for a recent lateral flow test is likely to be introduced as an alternative to being fully vaccinated.
Companies, however, were given a week’s postponement after Sturgeon said a final decision on whether to impose stricter restrictions would not be made until next week.
The announcement comes after the Scottish Chamber of Commerce (SCC) warned that one in four companies would face “immediate financial danger” if restrictions were further extended.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement, the organization welcomed the delay in changes as “good news”, but warned that any future extension of the scheme would cause “harm” to Scottish firms.
SCC’s CEO, Dr. Liz Cameron, said: “Although no changes have been made today, companies remain concerned and uncertain about the potential impact of future decisions.
“If restrictions are reintroduced or extended, companies will be hit financially, affecting jobs and trade losses.
“This would be particularly painful, as many have seen growth from the easing of restrictions and are looking forward to the traditional Christmas boom period.
“Not having seen any new business support measures outlined in the updated strategic framework would be very disappointing for companies concerned about the prospect of restrictions returning, with no safety net.
“Given the damage that restrictions would do to companies at this stage, we urge the Scottish Government to reconsider and outline how they will reimburse companies and protect jobs in this scenario.”
UKHospitality Scotland CEO Leon Thompson said: “Today’s statement does not remove any business uncertainty at a time when many are facing financial difficulties.
“The delay in deciding whether or not to extend vaccine certification simply brings any introduction of an extended scheme into December. This creates further confusion for both businesses and consumers, just before Christmas.
“Our businesses need to be able to act fully at this critical time. Hotels are already reporting cancellations due to the current situation where nightclubs and other late venues mention a drop in deals of up to 40 percent.”
Andrew McRae, political chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said an extension of the existing vaccine passport scheme would have a disproportionate impact on local companies with the fewest employees.
He said: “When policy makers are considering their next step, they should avoid a situation where they impose severe restrictions on the local and independent businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.”
Sturgeon said: “We will make a final decision next Tuesday in the light of the most up-to-date data. In the meantime, later this week, we will publish an evidence paper and consult companies on the practical aspects of the implementation should any changes be made.
“But even though the final decisions have not yet been made, I would like to provide an update on the issues under consideration. I would also like to say that we tentatively intend that all changes we make to the scheme will take effect. in force on 6 December.
Covid Scotland: One in four Scottish companies faces’ immediate economic peri …
“When the scheme was launched on 1 October, we considered that it was not appropriate at the time, given the need to increase vaccination rates, to include testing as an alternative to evidence of vaccination. However, we indicated that this would be kept under review. “
She added: “So we will assess in the coming days whether, on the basis of current and expected vaccination admission rates, we are now able to change the scheme, so that in addition to showing evidence of vaccination to gain access to a venue that will also be able to provide evidence of a recent negative test result, which is already part of many other countries’ certification schemes.
“We are also considering whether extending the scheme to cover more options would be justified and prudent given the current state of the pandemic.”
Sturgeon said the businesses likely to be affected include indoor cinemas, theaters and some other licensed and hospitality venues.
She said there would be exceptions for those under 18; for those who cannot be vaccinated or tested for medical reasons; for persons in clinical trials; and for those who work at events or in places covered by the scheme.
Exceptions will also be retained for worship, weddings, funerals and related gatherings.
She added: “I am well aware that many companies want us to remove cancellations, including certification, not extend or sharpen them. I understand that.
“But all of our decisions are motivated by a desire to get through a challenging winter without having to reintroduce trade restrictions.
“We want companies, if possible, to stay fully open throughout Christmas and the winter, while keeping Covid under control. If an extension of Covid certification can help us with that, it would be irresponsible not to consider it.”
Many countries across Europe have implemented a similar scheme, which requires vaccine passports to enter cafes, restaurants, cinemas and gyms.
In Italy and France, the passport is also necessary for some travel by public transport. Meanwhile, Austria earlier this week banned unvaccinated people from leaving the house, except for significant reasons such as work or food purchases.
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross criticized the Scottish Government for leaving companies with just two weeks to adapt after the changes to the vaccination passport scheme were formally announced.
Meanwhile, Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Liberal Democrat colleague Alex Cole-Hamilton both called for a vaccine-based passport scheme to be completely scrapped and replaced with a system based solely on negative lateral flow tests (LFTs). ).
Sarwar said: “We all know the vaccine works. It reduces hospitalization, death rates and cases of prolonged Covid. But it does not prevent you from getting the virus and it does not prevent you from spreading the virus.
“At every point in the process of developing vaccine passports, Scottish Labor has argued for the importance of a negative test.”
Cole-Hamilton said: “We know that LFTs are superior to vaccine passports. They provide a snapshot of the day of your Covid status, helping to determine who is ill and who is well. , and they eliminate the need to share your medical history with someone who is not your clinician. “
Sturgeon also urged people to ensure they comply with the government’s guidelines on face clothing and launched a £ 25 million fund to improve ventilation in business premises to stem the spread of the virus.
Small and medium-sized businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms will be able to claim back costs of up to £ 2,500 to carry out work such as installing carbon dioxide monitors and remedial improvement work for windows and ventilation openings under the scheme, which opens for applications next week.