Nightclubs and cinemas have rejected government advice for venues to voluntarily request COVID passports from attendees once restrictions are lifted.
From Monday (July 19), all restrictions on social distancing and capacity limits for live shows in England will be removed as the country enters the fourth and final stage of its route out of lockdown.
- READ MORE: Gig, festival and nightclub bosses talk masks, testing and COVID safety for re-opening
Ahead of the reopening, new Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday (July 13) encouraged events organisers and nightclub owners to put their own plans in place to ensure that only customers who have been vaccinated or can present proof of a recent negative test be admitted entry.
At a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “As a matter of social responsibility we’re urging nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS COVID pass, which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity as a means of entry.”
In response to the advice, nightclubs and cinemas have said that they won’t be employing the scheme while it remains voluntary.
As The Times reports, Rekom UK – who own over 40 nightclubs in the country – chief executive Peter Marks said all of its venues will open from July 19 “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”.
Aaron Mellor, founder of Tokyo Industries, added: “Many of our events have already been sold out and to ask us now retrospectively to force a vaccine passport is super-difficult to manage.
“You’ve also got to consider that many of our target age group are people in the 18-25 bracket who haven’t had the option to have two vaccinations yet.”
Cinemas are also set to oppose the idea, with UK Cinema Association chief executive Phil Clapp saying: “We believe that the overwhelming majority of our members continue to oppose the notion that audience members should be required to show evidence of a double Covid vaccination or negative test before being allowed into their venues.”
According to BBC News, documentation published after the Downing Street press conference revealed that the government “reserves the right” to force venues to operate a vaccine passport scheme by law.
A ‘COVID Pass’ can be requested for people in England via the NHS website or app. The pass, which lasts for 28 days in QR code form, presents proof of either double vaccination or a negative PCR or lateral flow test reported on the NHS website within the last 48 hours.
Ahead of the July 19 reopening, gig, festival and nightclub bosses have told Askhiphop what COVID safety measures music fans in England can expect.
Paul Reed, Chief Executive of the Association Of Independent Festivals, told Askhiphop they’d been working closely with the government on guidance of running events safely.
“I get the sense that the legal requirements around test and trace are being dialled down for hospitality, but irrespective of that you’ve got a younger cohort of people attending and working at festivals who won’t be double vaccinated and will have no option but to self-isolate if the app tells them to,” said Reed.
“The government need to explore solutions around whether that becomes more of a ‘test to release’ or ‘test to remain’ scheme if they get the all-clear.”
The post Nightclubs and cinemas reject government’s COVID passports advice appeared first on Askhiphop.