Business leaders are pulling out of a high-profile banquet at Mansion House in the City on Tuesday in protest at "overzealous" Covid protocols imposed on guests a day after "Freedom Day".
Two hundred guests are expected in Mansion House’s Egyptian Hall for a dinner organised by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
However, some are boycotting the event in protest at the scale of checks required by the Livery company to gain access to the banquet.
Guidance sent to guests in advance asks them to scan QR codes, wear face masks "except when drinking" and not to shake hands with key dignitaries despite the lifting of most restrictions in England.
One source said around a dozen of the 200 guests could drop out, with one guest telling the Livery company: "My wife and I are cancelling our places. We disagree in principle with events which require attendees to disclose private health records and discriminate against guests on the basis of those records."
According to instructions for the dinner seen by The Telegraph, guests have to use the Track and Trace QR codes to get in, while face masks "should be worn unless the individual is expressly excused". They will have to observe social distancing rules in the reception queue, before greeting the company’s Master, who "will be wearing a face shield".
The guidance adds: "If the guest or member wishes to shake hands, they should approach the Master with hand outstretched. Otherwise, hands should be kept at your side. The Master’s Consort, the Senior Warden and the Junior Warden will adopt the normal civic practice of not shaking hands but will instead give a verbal greeting."
Elected members of the City of London Corporation, which runs Mansion House, appealed for a more proportionate approach.
Sophie Anne Fernandez, who chairs the corporation’s licensing committee, said: "These overzealous demands to simply attend a dinner, at a premises which continues to request the use of Track and Trace, are at danger of creating a two-tier society, especially as it imposes a financial burden of taking a PCR test on those who may not have been able to have a vaccine or choose not to do so."
James Tumbridge, Common Councilman for Tower Ward and a member of the licensing committee, added: "There should not be any requirement to disclose your health status for social events."
The Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales declined to comment when approached by The Telegraph on Monday.