NTIA hits out again as government ploughs on with requirement for COVID Passports in clubs


September 2, 2021

The Night Time Industries Association has again hit out at UK government plans to force clubs and some other venues to check COVID Passports at the door from the end of this month.

There had been reports of disagreement within the government regarding those plans and some confusion over whether they were definitely happening. But a spokesperson for Prime Minister ‘Boris’ Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that his policy on this matter remains unchanged, and that the COVID Passport requirement will still go into effect as previously announced.

Since most COVID restrictions were lifted in England in July – allowing clubs to reopen and full capacity shows to resume – venues and events have been able to decide for themselves whether they ask customers to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID and/or have had a recent negative COVID test.

But as those restrictions lifted, Johnson said that he would introduce the COVID Passport requirement for some clubs and venues, but that he was putting off that requirement for a couple of months, in part to give clubbers time to get vaccinated.

The NTIA has criticised that plan ever since, and put out another statement following this week’s update from Johnsons’s spokesperson. The organisation’s CEO, Michael Kill, said yesterday: “Confirmation that the government will continue to press on with the COVID Passport strategy for nightclubs and indoor gatherings, even against a furious backlash from MPs across the House Of Commons and industry leaders, is disappointing as it will cripple the industry”.

“Surely the government can see this is not workable”, he added. “The challenges are endless, and the sector will be hit extremely hard by this decision, embroiled in discrimination cases, staffing and supply chain shortages … and so on. [And] the government’s attempt to differentiate between businesses within our sector is extremely difficult, even for people who live and breathe this industry”.

“Whether it be market segmentation or capacity limits, it’s not a workable position, there are too many variables and the businesses are too diverse, it cannot be easily categorised”, he went on. “The government needs to listen to real operators who can give them real feedback on these challenges, these policy decisions will have a catastrophic impact on people’s livelihoods and careers”.

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