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Night-time sector calls on government of axe plans to force COVID vaccine checks at clubs

By | Published on Tuesday 24 August 2021

Night Time Industries Association

The Night Time Industries Association has called on the UK government to abandon plans to force clubs and other venues to check people’s COVID vaccination status from the end of next month, arguing that doing so will hinder the revival of the night-time and live entertainment sectors.

When COVID rules lifted in England last month – allowing clubs to re-open and full capacity gigs to resume – the government advised venues to check the COVID status of customers at the door, but there is currently no obligation to do so. However, Prime Minister ‘Boris’ Johnson has said that the rules will change at the end of next month making it obligatory for some venues to check each customer’s ‘COVID passport’, which confirms a person’s vaccination status.

According to reports, there remains confusion within government as to whether that requirement will definitely become law next month, with some ministers seemingly against the proposal, although Johnson’s team are adamant it will go ahead.

The NTIA says that the revival of the night-time sector is now under-way after nearly eighteen months of shutdown, although staff shortages – some COVID related, others because people left the sector during lockdown – have proven a challenge.

But the current biggest challenge for the sector is the prospect of clubs and venues being obliged to check COVID passports from the end of next month. While some are also concerned that any new surge in COVID cases that happens when schools and colleges return in September will be blamed on the night-time and live entertainment sectors.

Addressing the Prime Minister, NTIA boss Michael Kill said yesterday: “Mr Johnson, the industry has supported your public health strategy for over eighteen months, proving we can operate safely, without affecting infection rates as many felt we would, so give credit where it is due and allow the industry the freedom to determine its own mitigations as has been done for many years prior this pandemic, but more importantly do not mandate COVID passports”.

“Our industry has been exceptional at managing businesses and public health within these settings during this pandemic. As your very words had suggested this year, we will not turn back, and we cannot be subject to mitigations which are ill thought out and are clearly not supported publicly, politically and industry wide”.

“Contrary to popular belief much of our core market and workforce will not accept being coerced into taking the vaccine, the workforce is shrinking and illegal events are being organised today in light of the impending restrictions, how can this be anything but counterproductive?”

“Our industry cannot be blamed or subject to the failings or impact of other settings, it is abundantly clear the impact of opening our sector has not impacted rates to levels suggested”, he concluded. “It’s important that the government recognise the value of our contribution, end the uncertainty, and work with us in recognising the impact of proposed measures”.