One of Southend’s biggest employers has ruled out the use of vaccine passports for staff when it reopens next month.

Adventure Island has started recruiting to get the roller-coasters running once more on April 17.

However, bosses stressed they would not be “bullying” people to get the jab to get a job there.

While some businesses are said to be gearing up for a “no jab no job” rule, Adventure Island bosses made it clear they would not force staff or visitors to take the vaccine, insisting it should be a personal choice.

James Miller, operations director at Adventure Island, told the Echo: “Let there be no misunderstanding. Adventure Island is not against taking the jab nor are we encouraging people not to have it.

“Both my Dad (Philip Miller) and my cousin Marc, managing director, have taken the vaccine, so our position has nothing to do with the jab itself.

“It is the bullying, peer pressure, invasion of privacy, and the fact that it is not our right to tell people what to do with their bodies, that we cannot condone as a company.”

Mr Miller added: “Last year we were the proud recipients of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Social Mobility by promoting opportunity.

“The implication of jab for jobs is to effectively force a person to do something to their body that they may not wish to do.

“There are many reasons why people will not take the jab, but it is not for Adventure Island to have any part of the decision-making process – we just cannot reconcile this with our treasured family-friendly ethos.”

Speaking earlier on Talk Radio, James Miller said: “There are several things we’ve noticed that we are not content with in terms of the bullying nature of how people want to push the vaccine on to people.

“The peer pressure that’s taking place, which is completely wrong, and an invasion of privacy and those sort of things are not compatible with the Adventure Island culture at all. Companies that do take up a rigid vaccine stance are likely to face contests in court.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our view is that it’s much better to encourage people to have the Covid vaccination rather than force people into having it for employment purposes.

“Obviously there will be instances, such as in health care, where you might have to consider adopting a no jab non job position, but it could well be challenged in a court of law. Hopefully common sense on both sides would prevail.”