New poll finds that eight in 10 nightlife businesses won’t use COVID passports

"At this rate, ‘freedom day’ will be a false dawn for a nightlife sector characterised by chaos"

A new poll has found that eight in 10 nightlife businesses in the UK won’t be using COVID passports as a condition of entry from next week.

Nightlife is set to return in England without social distancing or capacity limits from Monday (July 19) as the country enters the fourth and final stage of its route out of lockdown.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Monday (July 12) that nightclubs and other event organisers are being advised to ask attendees for proof of either two coronavirus vaccinations or a negative COVID test, with guidance stating: “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.”

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However, REKOM UK – who own over 40 nightclubs across the UK – this week rejected the government’s advice to voluntarily request COVID passports from attendees once restrictions are lifted, and a new poll has now found that eight out of 10 nightlife business in the UK are set to follow suit.

The survey of 250 venues, which was conducted by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), found that 82 per cent would not be asking their customers to provide their COVID status in order to gain entry.

Nightclubs
XOYO in London, 2019 (Picture: Getty)

Among the popular reasons supplied by respondents to the poll included concerns over the cost of implementing a COVID passport system without active government support, the potential for confrontation between staff and disgruntled consumers without certification and the fact that businesses have only been given a week’s notice by the government.

“We are hugely concerned that the government has caused yet more confusion by suggesting that COVID Passports are not mandatory while, at the same time, details reveal clearly that this could well be the case in future,” NTIA CEO Michael Kill said in a statement.

“Government guidance released this week has given businesses less than a week to make what would be a major change to their operating model. This type of ambiguous communication is creating hesitation amongst customers and operators. At this rate, ‘freedom day’ will be a false dawn for a nightlife sector characterised by chaos.”

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Speaking to NME earlier this month, Michael Kill said that the challenge for nightclubs in terms of reopening “is to be responsible”.

“We have to be realistic in terms of protecting our staff and customers while retaining some key protocols and really consider the government guidance. We need to do our part,” he said. “We can’t just say: ‘The doors are open – let’s run’. Let’s proceed with caution.”

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