Government ‘finally’ acknowledges nightclubs with rapid testing suggestion

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Shuttered venues: nightclubs have been closed for almost a year due to coronavirus restrictions
Shuttered venues: nightclubs have been closed for almost a year due to coronavirus restrictions

Related tags: Late-night venues, Nightclub, Night-time economy, Club, Pubco + head office

Prime Minister Boris Johnson “finally” mentioned nightclubs during a press briefing, suggesting the use of lateral flow testing could be used when the venues can reopen.

Nightclubs have been closed since March 2020 and research of more than 100 late-night venues earlier this year (February) revealed 81% predict they wouldn’t survive beyond the end of this month without further support from the Government.

At a Downing Street press conference last night (Monday 15 February), Johnson said: “For the purposes of this country and doing things within the domestic UK economy, we will look at everything.

“But what we are thinking of at the moment is more of a route that relies on mass vaccination…plus lateral flow testing, rapid testing for those bits of the economy that are the toughest nuts to crack, such as nightclubs or theatres, those parts of the economy we couldn’t get open last year and I think that will be the route we go down and that businesses will go down.”

Hardest hit venues

However, the Prime Minister also stated it was “still early days and there’s lots of discussion to be had”.

The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) welcomed the words from Johnson and the potential opportunity for the late-night sector to be open.

NTIA boss Michael Kill said: “Finally we have some acknowledgement from the Prime Minister and Government on the existence of late-night economy businesses, including nightclubs, theatres, casinos and late bars, particularly as they are some of the hardest hit since the start of the pandemic."

Plan and prepare

He added: “We have been lobbying Government with a strategy for the safe opening of these important cultural institutions for some time now.

“Using lateral flow testing has been a consistent narrative and feel now with this acknowledgement, we will be given the opportunity to deliver pilot schemes, which will substantiate the ability for this sector to open safely at the appropriate time, but more importantly we will be able to plan and prepare for that opportunity.”

In November last year, The Morning Advertiser ​delved into the impact the coronavirus crisis was having on the late-night sector with UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls calling nightclubs as “one of the unfortunate, unnoticed casualties of the pandemic​”.

Related topics: Legislation

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