Tokyo Industries CEO Aaron Mellor has described proposals for nightclubs to check vaccine passports as “impossible to enforce”.

The government announced on Monday evening it would encourage clubs to check guests vaccine status using the NHS app, although this was not understood to be mandatory.

However subsequent guidance published yesterday stated that if sufficient measures were not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating the NHS Covid pass “in certain venues”

Mellor, who operates around 30 bars and clubs, told MCA: “We’ve had 18 months of sheer hell with no support from government, and now they expect us to pick up the pieces. It’s going to be impossible to enforce.

“The government say one thing to the press and media and then introduce policies like this by stealth

“I just don’t see it working. When you’re putting 2,000 people into a nightclub, getting to people to provide a passport is going to be impossible.

“Not everyone has the NHS app, it’s just another barrier to entry which feels disproportionate to the risk of hospitality. Especially after what we’ve seen in Wembley it feels galling.”

Michael Kill, of the Night Time Industries Association, said the guidance was “disingenuous and unclear”.

Kill said that although the policy was not mandatory at present, it could turn out that venues were “in the hands of local public health directors” who could force them to comply.

He said the government seemed to be “gauging the public narrative” before deciding how tough to be, adding that this was likely to cause “some level of chaos”.