Industry figures hit out against nightclub vaccine restrictions

Reacting to the latest restriction on the sector, Kate Nicholls called the decision a ‘hammer blow’ for an industry that has been closed for 16 months

Industry figures have hit out against Boris Johnson’s announcement that, from September, only those fully vaccinated will be able to enter venues “where large crowds gather”.

When addressing the nation, the prime minister claimed that the Government is “concerned” by the “continuing risk posed by nightclubs”.

In turn, he confirmed that the current proof of a negative test “will no longer be sufficient”, before pressing that this is “why we are asking you to come forward and get your jabs now”.

Reacting to the latest restriction on the sector, which was announced on “freedom day” (19 July), Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, called the decision a “hammer blow” for an industry that has been closed for 16 months.

She added: “Covid passports will be a costly burden that run the risk of creating flashpoints between staff and customers, as well as raising potential issues with equalities legislation and the handling of customer data. 

“As recently as last week the Government asked us to work with them on a voluntary scheme, so this new policy is devastating and risks hitting these fragile businesses and derailing their recovery and costing thousands of jobs.”

Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, also questioned the plan, targeting its “discriminatory nature” for those who cannot, and wish not to, get vaccinated.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Let’s not let the Gov’t hide behind the narrative of ‘nightclubs’.

“‘Venues where large crowds gather’ is too open ended. Live music venues, theatres, larger bars, arenas, the list is endless.”

He added: “With this one move, the Government appears to have wiped out live gigs for a whole generation who have already suffered hugely during this pandemic.

“I can’t see any reason why anyone would now want to enter this sector with such financially damaging restrictions in place.”

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