Nightclubs in England have only been open one day, and already the country’s government is starting to make U-turn decisions.
After initially ruling out the idea of vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs and other public events. The UK’s government is now considering a vaccine passport system to be implemented from the end of September.
Nadhim Zahawi is the country’s vaccine minister, and yesterday announced the plans to restrict entry to nightclubs and large venues in England, so only those with a negative test result or proof of recovering from a recent infection will be granted access to such spaces.
Boris Johnson is prime minister of the UK, and last week he urged nightclubs to take part in the COVID-Pass scheme, but at that point it wasn’t a legal requirement, and now they are considering making it law. Boris Johnson called it a matter of “social responsibility.”
Not long after the prime minister’s announcement, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) did a survey of venues, which revealed that 82.7% did not plan to implement the COVID-Pass scheme.
It’s suspected that the footage of packed dance floors after Monday’s lifting of restrictions has prompted the government to enforce venues to make being double vaccinated an entry requirement. Some suspect it’s an incentive tool aimed to entice more under 29s to get the jab so they aren’t restricted for joining their friends on nights out.
In a press conference, Boris Johnson stated that if voluntary action wasn’t taken by venues, then the country could be headed for an Autumn lockdown – due to what he called a “significant threat posed by nightclubs.” Then he continued: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again, nightclubs have to do the responsible thing and use the NHS Covid pass which shows proof of vaccination or a recent negative test … We do reserve the right to mandate such certification.”
Michael Kill is the CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, and he reacted to the Prime Ministers announcement with the following statement: “So, ‘freedom day’ for nightclubs lasted around 17 hours then…. The announcement from the Prime Minister that Covid passports will be made mandatory for nightclubs in September comes after his Health Secretary said only one week ago that they would not be compulsory. What an absolute shambles.”
“The Government’s own report into vaccine passports found they were more trouble than they’re worth – so what could possibly explain the about U-turn, just as millions across the UK experience their first taste of a night out in a year and a half…?”
In July, the UK’s seven-day average for people testing positive for COVID-19 is over 40,000 and vaccine uptake in 16–29-year-olds is currently high. A survey from the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that 10% in the 16-29 age group were hesitant about getting the jab, compared to 5% in 30-49 year olds and 1% in over 50s.