Covid passports rejected by nightclub – industry hits back at ‘barrier’ to hospitality

Sajid Javid confirms lockdown easing on July 19th

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday that the government is moving ahead with the final stage of its lockdown roadmap next week, lifting most of the mandatory restrictions currently in place. This means that, for the first time since March 2020, social distancing requirements will be scrapped and nightclubs can finally reopen at full capacity.

As reported by Nottingham Live, the owners of Pryzm nightclub confirmed that they will not be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test when they reopen fully on July 19.

This comes despite advice from the government that businesses and large events should use the NHS Covid Pass to ask punters for proof of these – though this is “non-compulsory” as previous restrictions were.

Peter Marks, who is the chief executive of REKOM UK which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, said he was “thrilled” to be able to reopen next Monday.

He added that this will be “at full capacity and without any requirement for a negative Covid test, something we believe would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet”.

According to the businessman, nightclubs are “among the best equipped venues” the it comes to handling the spread of the virus.

Mr Marks said: “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.

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

At the Downing Street press conference on Monday, Boris Johnson urged venues to use the vaccine passport scheme “as a matter of social responsibility”.

Guidance published on the government website following the announcement said that if “sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating the NHS Covid Pass in certain venues at a later date”.

The government has allegedly got plans drawn up for the introduction of Covid passports in the autumn, all in an effort to mitigate the impact of a fourth wave and encourage the young to get vaccinated.

Additional reporting by Gemma Toulson.

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