Mandatory Covid passes for clubs ‘devastating’

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Covid Pass: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced vaccine passports would become mandatory for nightclubs in one weeks' time (image: Getty/XiXinXing)
Covid Pass: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced vaccine passports would become mandatory for nightclubs in one weeks' time (image: Getty/XiXinXing)

Related tags: Legislation, Government, Nightclub, Late-night venues

The Government’s announcement that vaccine passports will be mandatory for nightclub entry has been labelled “devastating” for the sector.

In a Downing Street press conference this evening (Wednesday 8 December), Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed vaccine certification or a negative lateral flow as part of the Government's Plan B, will come into effect in one weeks’ time after rising cases of the Omicron variant, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Johnson said: “We will also make the NHS Covid Pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

“The NHS Covid Pass can still be obtained with two doses but we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out.

“Having taken clinical advice since the emergence of Omicron, a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.

“As we set out in Plan B, We will give businesses a week’s notice, this will come into force in a weeks’ time helping to keep these events and venues open at full capacity while giving everyone who attends them, confidence those around them have done the responsible thing to minimise risk to others.”

Devastating news

The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the Government had thrown the late-night industry “under the bus to save his own skin”.

Reacting to the press conference, NTIA boss Michael Kill added: “Today’s announcement of Plan B by the Government is devastating news for nightlife sector.

“Vaccine passports have a damaging impact on night-time economy businesses, as we seen in other parts of the UK where they have been implemented like Scotland – where trade is down 30% - and Wales, where it down 26%. The UK Government has twice ruled out vaccine passports before twice changing their mind.”

He went on to say the mixed public health messages from the Government have come at the worst time as the lead up to the festive period is crucial for the sector.

Kill added: “Now it is announced damaging vaccine passports are to be implemented. Far from ‘saving’ Christmas, the Prime Minister has given our sector the horrible present of more pain for businesses desperately trying to recoup losses from earlier in the pandemic.
“The Government’s own report on the subject concluded that vaccine passports wouldn’t even have a significant impact on virus transmission – they don’t stop the spread of Covid but they do damage trade.”

Damaging story

He referenced the recent reports about a Christmas party, which was alleged to have taken place last year at Downing Street.

“You do, therefore, have to question the timing and rationale for this announcement. Is this sound evidence-based public policy making or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing St Christmas party? It feels that nightclubs and bars have been thrown under the bus by the Prime Minister for him to save his own skin,” Kill said. 

“And of course these businesses, who have already sacrificed so much during the pandemic, will be asking – ‘why are we being asked to carry more of the burden when it seemed that the most senior Government officials felt they didn’t need to do their bit?’”

Late-night operator Rekom UK cited official data on cases of coronavirus from the business and called for more businesses to be included in the vaccine passport scheme.

Chairman of the UK board Peter Marks said: “We are disappointed, but sadly not surprised by the Government’s decision to make vaccine passports compulsory for nightclubs and other late night venues. There is no evidence anywhere in the world that nightclubs have caused an increase in Covid cases. In fact, since 19 July when we were allowed to reopen in England, there has been an 80% reduction in cases in the 20 to 29 cohort according to recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) statistics. 

“If the Government sees the need for compulsory vaccine passports, then it should do so across the board. It is not only unjust to single out the late night sector but it will have no impact on transmission rates. There is no difference being in a busy shop, shopping centre, restaurant, pub or bar, which all attract far greater numbers of people week in week out compared to the numbers of people that go clubbing.

“The late-night economy, particularly nightclubs, has received only one third of the support of the nearest other hospitality industry by type and a tenth of those deemed cultural venues. Many operators have already gone bust and, with these latest measures, many thousands of jobs are at risk across the sector.”


Related topics: Legislation

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