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Nightclub bosses plan to ignore government's "COVID pass" advice

The Prime Minister has labeled clubs participation in the scheme "a matter of social responsibility"

  • Megan Townsend
  • 14 July 2021
Nightclub bosses plan to ignore government's "COVID pass" advice

Nightclub bosses and industry leaders have said they will not be following government advice and requiring a "COVID pass" before allowing people into their venues next week.

On Monday Boris Johnson urged the nightlife and festival industries to ensure crowds presented either proof of a negative COVID test, proof of full-vaccination or proof they have recently had the virus to be able to attend non-distanced events.

The public will be able to show proof of this on the NHS COVID app from July 19.

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The Prime Minister called it a "matter of social responsibility" - but didn't confirm if this would be a legal requirement.

The Government has since published their official advice which has said it "reserves the right to force venues" to comply, causing concern among nightlife industry leaders.

Read this next: Boris Johnson confirms all restrictions will be lifted on July 19

Micheal Kill of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) told the BBC that if the scheme were to become a legal requirement it would leave the industry “in the hands of local public health directors."

Nightclub owners REKOM UK that own 42 venues across the UK have said they will not be implementing the need for a "COVID pass" insisting that all of their clubs will be open at full capacity with no restrictions and no need for a negative COVID test.

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Chief Executive Peter Marks told PA: “We're able to open in this way because nightclubs, in particular, are among the best-equipped venues in the hospitality sector, and indeed were even prior to the pandemic, for the exact safety measures that are required to reduce the spread of the virus.

“These include air ventilation systems in all our venues which change air every five minutes on average, sanitisation stations throughout all our clubs, increased frequency of cleaning schedules compared to before the pandemic, and highly trained staff and experienced door staff who are well-versed in crowd management protocols.

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“Together, these measures mean that clubs are well placed to open and provide unforgettable nights out once again.”

Likewise, the Music Venue Trust, a charity that represents 270 small music venues in the UK has said that the majority of clubs will not be partaking in the scheme, insisting that precautions will be taken but the "COVID pass" won't be one of them.

Read this next: Ministers plan to scrap social distancing and masks on July 19

Founder and Chief Executive Mark Davyd said there has to be a "level of responsibility" taken by audiences in an interview with PA.

"What we're encouraging people to do is, before you buy tickets, check out the website of the venue and see what they are doing to try and protect people."

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Davyd went on to call the need for COVID status verification "a complete non-starter" insisting: "Very, very few venues are going to do this. The reason is the app itself is no guarantee of anything, except that it says someone has taken a test and they are negative.

"Fake vaccine passports are already available online. These things are not rigorous in any way, shape or form at the moment."

Restrictions will be lifted in England and Scotland on July 19, and in Northern Ireland on July 26 - with Wales yet to announce.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter

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