Gov’s plans to press on with vaccine passports for clubs ‘will cause enormous disruption’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Late-night impact: Downing Street confirmed vaccine passports will be required for entry into clubs (image: Getty/gilaxia)
Late-night impact: Downing Street confirmed vaccine passports will be required for entry into clubs (image: Getty/gilaxia)

Related tags Legislation Health and safety Night-time economy Nightclub

The Government will continue with its plans to enforce vaccine passports for nightclubs has resulted in figures from the sector warning about the impact this will have on the industry.

Yesterday (Tuesday 31 August), Downing Street confirmed clubgoers will need to provide proof of vaccination for entry to clubs from the end of September.

An official spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “We set out broadly our intention to require our vaccination for nightclubs and some other settings and we’ll be coming forward in the coming weeks with details for that.”

Earlier this year (July), Johnson first announced full vaccination would be a condition of entry​ to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord said: “Last night (Tuesday 31 August), Downing Street confirmed it intends to press on with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs from the end of September.

“It’s disappointing that despite the calls from all sides, including the industry and customers themselves, the Government is continuing to move ahead with this."

Unanswered questions

He added: “Although I strongly urge everyone to have their vaccine, there remain countless unanswered questions around the implementation and legality of passports and their discriminatory nature on those who are not eligible for medical reasons, or who choose not to have a vaccine.

“The measures will cause enormous disruption to an already struggling industry. It will not only encourage a surge of indoor house parties, arguably less safe in terms of security and monitoring alcohol consumption, but the current guidance is extremely open ended as to which operators will be required to enforce check.”

He went on to highlight how the sector has precautions in place to ensure the safety of guests and called on the Government to change the decision.

“Why should an open plan nightclub with outdoor terrace, for example, be classed as any less safe than an enclosed 1,000-person office, and where the current wording states ‘large gatherings’, does this include weddings, churches or even Parliament?”, Lord added.

“We already have sensible, safe precautions across the hospitality sector and with nightclubs already open, we have proof the current set up is working safely and effectively.

“I would strongly urge the Government to rethink this plan or the economy will face another severe blow come the end of the month.”

Not workable

Furthermore, the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) echoed Lord’s comments on how hard the sector has already been hit.

CEO Michael Kill said: “Confirmation the Government will continue to press on with the Covid passport strategy for nightclubs and indoor gatherings, even against a furious backlash from MP's across the House of Commons and industry leaders is disappointing as it will cripple the industry.

"The coverage was met with anger and frustration from operators across the country, with many asking why we are looking at this again after it was thrown out earlier in the campaign.

“Surely the Government can see this is not workable. The challenges are endless, and the sector will be hit extremely hard by this decision, embroiled in discrimination cases, staffing and supply chain shortages, tourism and so on.

"We are trying to rebuild! The Government's attempt to differentiate between businesses within our sector is extremely difficult, even for people who live and breathe this industry.

“Whether it be market segmentation or capacity limits, it's not a workable position, there are too many variables and the businesses are too diverse, it cannot be easily categorised.

"The Government needs to listen to real operators who can give them real feedback on these challenges, these policy decisions will have a catastrophic impact on people's livelihoods and careers."

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