The Night Time Industries Association has welcomed the announcement that new measures in England to deal with the latest variant of COVID-19 will not include additional obligations for live entertainment and other night-time businesses.
UK Prime Minister ‘Boris’ Johnson announced some new regulations this weekend in response to concerns being raised in the scientific community about the so called omicron variant of COVID-19. Those new regulations include the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in shops, and a return of the obligation for those entering the UK to have a PCR test within two days of arrival (a lateral flow test having been acceptable in recent weeks).
However, there are no new entry or mask requirements for hospitality businesses. The government has previously said that mandatory checks at some venues of the COVID or vaccination status of all customers – as is currently required in Scotland and Wales – could be introduced in England if there is a big spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalisations. However, such checks are not being introduced in response to the omicron variant.
Welcoming this decision, NTIA boss Michael Kill said this weekend: “The reported detection of the new variant in the UK is hugely concerning. We are encouraged by the government’s decision not to mitigate against hospitality and night time economy settings, with the additional measures presented by the PM including wearing masks within shops and on public transport in England, coupled with more stringent border controls for visitors entering the country, as a first response”.
He added that, although it’s important to address the concerns relating to the omicron variant, there is also a need “to be clear that the [night-time] sector is still extremely fragile and will not survive further trade inhibiting restrictions or a potential lockdown. The current baseline mitigations within businesses across this industry have been extremely effective. Coupled with the vaccination programme, we must remain confident that we are in a stronger position to deal with variants than many other countries across the world”.
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