U-Turn on COVID Passports for Nightclubs

The UK government has reversed their decision on making COVID passes mandatory for nightclubs.

In another dramatic week of news for the nightlife industry, Sajid Javid said Sunday morning that people will not be needing COVID passports to enter nightclubs as was originally stated early last week. Boris Johnson is expected to reiterate this in his Tuesday statement, as well as lay out plans for the Winter COVID preparation.

Following the previous announcement of mandatory passes, there was an industry-wide outcry.

Then a surprise YouGov poll late last week saw Labour in the lead and Conservatives dropping below 40%. And suddenly by the weekend the Government reversed a series of promises, including that of new nightclub COVID regulations.

Seen by many in the sector as a huge flip-flopping farce by the Government, voices of the industry have called it ‘shambolic’ and ‘deeply illiberal’.

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, commented saying: “We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.”

The NTIA chose to remind the public that many businesses in the nightlife sector have had to close their doors due to the government’s response to the pandemic. But as the government stand behind their excuse that they are doing everything for the good of the industry, they need to realise these constant changes to the rules and expectations of nightclubs are only hindering business growth.

This comes in the same week that many pupils and students will be restarting education, a demographic which has been heavily blamed for the continued spread of the virus. Students should now not have to worry about losing out on a Freshers week; despite the impact government indecision has had on scheduled events already.

Repeatedly in interviews and in parliament, government ministers use the phrase “the science says,” and that “options are being kept in reserve.” Other than the nonsensical nature of these arguments, many voices have shown evidence against the Government’s trend to constantly pick on nightclubs and nightlife venues. Operations Director at Fabric told Sky news that he would argue a 200-capacity bar with no ventilation is far more dangerous than a 1,500-capacity club venue with strong ventilation. Many questioned why nightclubs were being singled out, and not other crowded areas such as bars or festivals.

Scotland vs The rest of the UK

As rules are remaining the same for venues in England and Wales, Scotland will be going ahead with COVID passport requirements. On 1st October, Scottish nightclubs attendees will have to prove they are double vaccinated.

The rules apply to:

  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience
  • Unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience
  • Any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance

Throughout the pandemic Scotland have been more assertive on their COVID restrictions, however this time around, the decision has been deemed “very rushed and hurried.”

Reactions to U-Turn on COVID Passport for Nightclubs

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