Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his intention to reopen nightclubs from 21 June, in his roadmap out of lockdown.
The ‘Covid-19 response - spring 2021’ document sets out the Government’s intention to reopen sectors that have been closed since initial restrictions were brought in almost a year ago.
In stage four of lifting lockdown measures, the Government hopes to abolish “all legal limits on social contact.”
The Government will publish accompanying guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission, according to the 68-page document.
Hardest hit businesses
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said more details on reopening were needed, in addition to urgent financial support to save struggling businesses.
NTIA boss Michael Kill added: “We are pleased to hear within the Prime Minister’s statement the inclusion of a timeline for night-time economy businesses, in particular some of the hardest hit businesses, many of which have been closed since March 2020, like nightclubs, bars and casinos.”
Findings from the NTIA suggest that 85% of those working in the night time economy are considering leaving the sector, Kill said.
He added: “The sector urgently needs additional clarity on reopening and critical financial support from the Chancellor if we are to avoid economic and social damage that will last a generation.”
A NTIA survey of more than 100 nightclubs found more than three quarters (81%) said they would not survive past the end of February without further support from the Government.
What’s more, some 86% of those surveyed had made redundancies with more than 65% making over six in 10 of their workforce redundant before the end of last year.
Rapid tests considered
The Government’s roadmap provides scant detail of what reopening nightclubs could involve, but suggests “potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.”
Rapid coronavirus tests are expected to be part of the way society returns to large-scale gatherings and office-work.
At a Downing Street press conference earlier in the month (Monday 15 February), the Prime Minister said officials would “look at everything” to revive beleaguered sectors.
He added: “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.”