Guests will not be asked for any form of vaccine certification to go to the pub for outdoors opening from 12 April or for indoors opening from 17 May, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.

He was speaking after documents suggested some kind of vaccine certification could be introduced to enable pubs and restaurants to operate without social distancing.

Zahawi said the government taskforce led by Michael Gove was looking at certification for larger scale events such as football matches and theatre shows.

Kate Nicholls, of UK Hospitality, said the clarification from the minster was helpful but was in contradiction to the prime minister’s refusal to rule them out.

On the concept of Covid certification, Zahawi told LBC: “Next Monday in the beer garden, when you’re sipping on a pint, you will not be asked for any formal certification. On the 17th of May, when you’re inside that pub sipping that pint, you won’t be asked for any formal certification.

“But what we are looking at, and I think you would berate me if we didn’t, is looking at ways of for example opening up mass participation events like the FA Cup Final semi-final or other events. We are looking, initially at how testing can help open up those events, and then maybe vaccines or immunity, can help.

“If we do make any decisions on that, obviously we will consult, as Michael Gove has been doing, with every stakeholder and of course with parliamentarians.”

Zahawi said pilots were being run for large scale events.

Nicholls responded: “This is very helpful - but the review document published yesterday does still talk about their use in pubs and restaurants in removing social distancing. The PM also refused to rule out future use yesterday. There is a huge business cost, so Ministers must be clearer - is it just now, or never?”

Meanwhile, Labour came out against Covid status certificates yesterday, which could put the government on course to a parliamentary defeat if the policy is put to a vote.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth accused the government of “creating confusion” by not explaining clearly where the documents may be needed, after Boris Johnson confirmed they were being investigated but would not be introduced earlier than mid-May.

“I’m not going to support a policy that, here in my Leicester constituency, if someone wants to go into Next or H&M, they have to produce a vaccination certificate on their phone, on an app,” Ashworth told the BBC. “I think that’s discriminatory.”

He added it made sense to ask people to get tested before going to events such as a football game, but warned that forcing everyone to carry an “ID card” proving they had been jabbed was not fair.

The scheme has sparked anger among 40 Conservative MPs, who pledged to oppose the certificates and said they were “divisive and discriminatory”.