Ministers may force large venues to use Covid passports if they don’t introduce system voluntarily

Ministers set up a potential Covid clash with owners of nightclubs and other large venues today with a threat to force them to use Covid passports to admit revellers.

From July 19 places which host mass entertainment events indoors are being urged to require ‘Covid certification’ of vaccination status as a condition of entry. 

But guidance released by the Government last night warned that it will consider making the system ‘mandatory’ in future if steps to limit the spread of Covid are not taken by firms.

The small print could set up a bitter row with businesses, after nightlife firms suggested that the passports would seriously impede their operation.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said today:  ‘We are hugely concerned that the Government have caused yet more confusion by suggesting these measures are not mandatory while, at the same time, the details reveal clearly that this could well be the case in future. 

‘This type of ambiguous communication is creating chaos amongst customers and operators, and presents a very different ”Freedom Day” to what we have all looked forward to.’ 

Peter Marks, chief executive of REKOM UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, last night said he was ‘thrilled’ to be able to reopen next Monday ‘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’. 

From July 19 places which host mass entertainment events indoors are being urged to require 'Covid certification' of vaccination status as a condition of entry. Pictured: Circus in Liverpool

From July 19 places which host mass entertainment events indoors are being urged to require 'Covid certification' of vaccination status as a condition of entry. Pictured: Circus in Liverpool

From July 19 places which host mass entertainment events indoors are being urged to require ‘Covid certification’ of vaccination status as a condition of entry. Pictured: Circus in Liverpool

But guidance released by the Government last night warned that it will consider making the system 'mandatory' in future if steps to limit the spread of Covid are not taken by firms.

But guidance released by the Government last night warned that it will consider making the system 'mandatory' in future if steps to limit the spread of Covid are not taken by firms.

But guidance released by the Government last night warned that it will consider making the system ‘mandatory’ in future if steps to limit the spread of Covid are not taken by firms.

The small print could set up a bitter row with businesses, after nightlife firms suggested that the passports would seriously impede their operation.

The small print could set up a bitter row with businesses, after nightlife firms suggested that the passports would seriously impede their operation.

The small print could set up a bitter row with businesses, after nightlife firms suggested that the passports would seriously impede their operation.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, last night said: that the Government are right not to mandate the use of Covid status certification systems'

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, last night said: that the Government are right not to mandate the use of Covid status certification systems'

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, last night said: that the Government are right not to mandate the use of Covid status certification systems’

He said reopened nightclubs will operate as pubs are currently running, adding: ‘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.’ 

Ministers would not say exactly which venues would be encouraged to bring in the passports – but did say they included places where people were ‘likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household’. 

This could mean theatres, cinemas, busy pubs, indoor concerts and any other crowded indoor event. 

Announcing that venues would be able to return to full capacity from next Monday, Mr Johnson last night said: ‘As a matter of social responsibility, we’re urging nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS Covid Pass.’

A statement from the Music Venue Trust said the charity, which has campaigned for Government support and identified venues at risk of closure during the pandemic, ‘warmly welcomes’ the return to full capacity concerts from next week.

It said: ‘For the last 12 months, we have been working tirelessly alongside venue operators to identify ways in which they can reopen every venue safely. That work remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but today we want to reach out to live music fans and send them a simple message: It’s finally time to revive live.

Peter Marks, chief executive of REKOM UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm (Nottingham pictured), Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, last night said he was 'thrilled' to be able to reopen next Monday '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'

Peter Marks, chief executive of REKOM UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm (Nottingham pictured), Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, last night said he was 'thrilled' to be able to reopen next Monday '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'

Peter Marks, chief executive of REKOM UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm (Nottingham pictured), Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, last night said he was ‘thrilled’ to be able to reopen next Monday ‘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’

‘Please help your local venue in England to provide safe events by thinking about your personal responsibility, the things you can do to ensure that as well as keeping yourself safe you are also doing everything you can to support the safety of others. We have all been desperately seeking the opportunity to revive live music, and to show that we can do that safely.

‘Let’s take this opportunity and demonstrate that we are a community that cares about each other.’

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and co-founder of Manchester’s Parklife festival, said there was more work to do.

He tweeted: ‘CONFIRMED: 19th July, Hospitality restrictions to be lifted. Now the hard work starts. The road to recovery, that will take years.

‘A huge moment for hospitality businesses, hospitality jobs, and more importantly, people’s mental health.’

Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan welcomed the news and said the sector would do everything it could to ensure its spaces were safe.

He said: ‘This will enable theatres to welcome back full audiences, producing shows that are financially viable and to provide more work for the sector’s precious freelance workforce.

‘We know that theatres will do everything in their power to continue to ensure they provide a safe environment for their audiences.

‘While it is good news for England, theatres in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are still subject to tighter restrictions.

‘A consistent approach is important both for the sake of struggling theatres in those nations and the impact on the viability of UK-wide tours, which are a vital part of the theatre landscape.’

Greg Parmley, chief executive of music industry trade body LIVE, said it was a ‘fantastic day for live music’ but renewed calls for a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live events sector.

He said: ‘While we have been waiting for this moment for the past year, commercial insurance is still not available – meaning organisers are faced with the prospect of huge financial losses should any restrictions need to change.

‘If Government really wants us to get back our feet, they need to make live events financially viable, provide the insurance scheme they have promised and give the industry the confidence to invest for the long term.’

Link hienalouca.com

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