Night club body “disappointed” as government votes in favour of COVID Passports

People will need a negative test or proof of vaccination for entry to nightclubs and large venues

MPs have voted to approve the mandatory use of COVID passports for entry to nightclubs and large venues in England, with the NTIA “disappointed” by the decision.

Following a rise in Coronavirus cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant, the government have tonight (December 14) voted 369 to 126 to approve ‘Plan B’ restrictions, which will see COVID passes necessary for entry to nightclubs and large venues (500+ capacity) in England from tomorrow (December 15).

This means that people will need to show proof they’re fully vaccinated, or provide a negative test.

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It follows scrapped plans to introduce a vaccine passport in England.

Responding to the news, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, released a statement that said: “We are disappointed that MPs have today voted in to law covid passports for nightclubs. The NTIA have consistently opposed their introduction due to the many logistical challenges they pose for night time economy businesses.”

He went on to say the use of COVID passports in Scotland and Wales has “dampened trade by 30% and 26% respectively. It is very disappointing that, after flip flopping on the issue twice, the Government have decided to press ahead with the plans despite no evidence of their impact on transmission of the virus.”

“This is a slippery path we are going down. I would urge the Government to listen to its backbenchers now – this far and no further,” he added.

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He finished by asking for financial support for impacted businesses. “These additional restrictions will jeopardise the survival of businesses in 2022 – we need urgent additional support now. And it goes without saying that if more measures are increased we need a proportionate support package including a return of the furlough scheme.”

In a report by the UK Treasury and the Cabinet Office’s COVID-19 Taskforce, it’s suggested that COVID passports passports will only reduce overall community transmission by just one to five per cent.

Ben Spencer, the Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge gave a speech before the vote tonight, where he said: “I cannot see how one can show evidence of a negative test without having access to the internet, without having a phone. It’s fairly clear to me that (COVID passports are) going to exclude people and I can’t support excluding anyone, but especially those people who are most marginalised in our society.”

It’s also been reported that up to 40 per cent of music fans in the UK aren’t showing up to gigs due to a rise in COVID cases. In response, The Music Venue Trust has called for “decisive and immediate action” to protect grassroots venues.

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and Parklife Festival boss said: “The knock-on effects of this are phenomenal. It’s decimating the whole industry.”

Speaking about the move to ‘Plan B’, which was initially announced last week, Greg Parmley, CEO of Live music organisation LIVE said: “The introduction of Plan B results in an unfair double standard that allows people to go on all-day pub crawls in crowded bars without having to prove their COVID-19 status, whilst live music venues get hit with certification.”

Both Wales and Scotland recently introduced vaccine passports for gigs and nightclubs.

These new rules come as the likes of The Streets, Coldplay and Faith No More have cancelled live shows due to coronavirus.

 

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