The government has announced that two COVID-19 vaccine doses will be required by those wishing to enter nightclubs and “large crowded settings” in England from September.
Proof of a negative coronavirus test will not be accepted alone as a condition of entry, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed on “freedom day” today (July 19), which was reiterated during a remote press conference held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson noted in the briefing that 35 per cent of 18-30 year olds are still “completely unvaccinated”. Pending the success of the vaccination rollout in England, all those aged 18 and over will have been offered both jabs by September.
He added that the vaccines provide “immense benefits” to everyone’s health and safety, but that they also give access to social “pleasures” such as clubbing.
“Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough”
UK PM Boris Johnson says that after all over-18s have had the chance to get both Covid jabs, full vaccination will be required for entry into “nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather”https://t.co/EZJkjkCXF1 pic.twitter.com/q0UpIP3Hmr
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 19, 2021
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, responded to the government’s announcement. “So, ‘freedom day’ for nightclubs lasted around 17 hours then…. The announcement from the Prime Minister that Covid passports will be made mandatory for night clubs in September comes after his Health Secretary said only one week ago that they would not be compulsory. What an absolute shambles.
“Leaving aside the fact that this is yet another chaotic u-turn that will leave nightclubs who have been planning for reopening for months will now have to make more changes to the way they operate – this is still a bad idea.
“80 per cent of nightclubs have said they do not want to implement covid passports, worrying about difficulties with enforcing the system and a reduction in spontaneous consumers, as well as being put at a competitive disadvantage with pubs and bars that aren’t subject to the same restrictions and yet provide similar environments.”
He continued: “The government’s own report into vaccine passports found they were more trouble than they’re worth – so what could possibly explain the about turn, just as millions across the UK experience their first taste of a night out in a year and a half…?”
Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE said: “The government has had several different positions on Covid certification in the last six months and we will need to see more detail before we can understand the full impact for the live music industry. Many festivals and large venues are already adopting some level of Covid certification, and as responsible event organisers, will continue to do so.”
“What we are absolutely clear about, however, is that venues such as small music clubs should not be treated any differently to other similar-sized hospitality businesses such as bars and restaurants when it comes to the need for Covid vaccine certification.”
People queue to get in to the Egg London nightclub in the early hours of July 19, 2021 in London, England. CREDIT: Rob Pinney/Getty Images.
Nightlife resumed in England today as the country enters the fourth and final stage of its route out of lockdown. A large number of nightclubs held special opening parties last night, opening their doors as the restrictions were lifted at midnight.
The Music Venue Trust has encouraged attendees to take a lateral flow test before attending.
The Prime Minister added in his press briefing that nightclub organisers, as well as those hosting large-scale indoor events, “need to do the socially responsible thing” by enforcing the so-called Covid vaccine passports as a requirement for entry.
Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi. CREDIT: om Nicholson-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Zahawi, meanwhile, said the government “reserves the right to mandate” the Covid pass amid fears that nightclub owners may not follow the recommendations [via The Telegraph].
He told MPs: “We are supporting the reopening of large crowded settings, such as nightclubs as we saw last night, with the use of the Covid pass as a condition of entry to reduce the risks of transmission.
“I encourage businesses… to use the Covid pass in the weeks ahead. We will be keeping a close watch on how it is used by venues and we reserve the right to mandate if necessary.”