Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the requirement to be fully vaccinated in order to enter nightclubs will be brought into place by the end of September.
During a press conference on Monday (19 July), the Prime Minister said that 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds - three million people - are currently completely unvaccinated, but that “some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.”
He said: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere, but it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing and make use of the NHS Covid pass.
“I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be double jabbed, we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.”
UK chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance explained that nightclubs could be “potential super spreading events”.
He told the press conference: “Right the way across the world we’ve seen that nightclubs and venues where you’ve got lots of people indoors, crowded together, are a focus for potential super spreading events, and that has also been seen in terms of what’s happened in Holland and Israel where nightclubs opened, and you saw a big increase in cases.
“So I think it’s… there’s no question that that is an environment in which spreading is easier, you’ve got lots of people quite close together, you’ve got the environment in which spreading becomes easier.
“And I would expect that with opening of nightclubs, we’ll continue to see an increase in cases and we will see outbreaks related to specific nightclubs as well.
“And that’s, again, why it’s so important that everybody comes and gets a vaccine, so that we can reduce the chance of spread, and we can reduce the chance of consequences of that spread.”
‘What an absolute shambles’
The Prime Minister’s announcement regarding proof of vaccination for entry to crowded indoor places, including nightclubs, has provoked backlash from the sector.
Michael Kill, chief executive officer of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), has slammed the Government’s plans as an “absolute shambles”.
The trade body boss said: “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 night clubs 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.”
A statement from the Music Venue Trust, which represents grassroots music venues, responded to the announcement that full vaccination will be a condition of entry to venues with large crowds from September.
The statement said: “The government needs to bring forward a workable, usable and accurate certification process that is in wide use across society and is accepted as normal and necessary by the public.
“Singling out nightclubs, or music venues, or any other cultural activity, as spaces required to deliver such a policy won’t work without the tools to do it and without addressing the obvious point that most grassroots music venues have lower capacities and lower total attendees per day than pubs.
“We note that the aim is to ‘boost vaccine uptake among young people’. The aim of certification should be the safety of the public.”