Nightlife bosses are arguing that continued curbs to clubbing across the UK have forced people away from the “spontaneous” nature of going out.
Meanwhile, the nighttime industry is currently “on its knees” due to the current Omicron outbreak as hundreds of clubs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain closed.
Many industry leaders are arguing that the shortage of visitors to nightclubs is due to the implementation of NHS COVID passes.
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“This will kill high street bars and clubs where you make a last-minute decision and pay on the door. I really fear for them,” says Warehouse Project boss Sacha Lord, who predicts that the use of COVID passes will “kill the spontaneity of going out”.
He continued: “People will still go on the ‘big night out’, but I think we might see them stay local and then, say six times a year, go for the big one they’ve bought tickets for and planned months in advance.”
According to industry figures, commercial clubs previously made 75% of their trade via “spontaneous custom” pre-lockdown, or punters looking for a last-minute night out.
Nightlife bosses now predict that what follows could be a surge in typical clubgoers branching out to illegal raves, secret parties, and experimental events in place of commercial clubbing.
Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill argues that restrictions will “see a ramping up of house parties and illegal events”, while there are many people who “don’t agree with COVID passes”.
“Those people aren’t going to stop their social engagement, they’re going to channel it into different settings,” he said, predicting that the shift could endanger UK nightlife.
“The reality is if you’re sitting in a pub with six friends and one person hasn’t been double jabbed or downloaded their COVID passport, you’re likely to stay in the pub. For nightclubs, that’s a proportion of your admissions gone.”
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter