Wednesday 1 September 2021 10:55 am

Clubs infuriated by scant detail of vaccine passport proposals

Downing Street confirmed it still plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs from the end of this month, to the frustration of the late night sector.

There had been reports the Government could choose not to introduce the policy at the last minute as a bluff to drive up vaccinations among young people.

However, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said there was “no change” with the proposal despite a backlash from Conservative backbenchers.

“We set out broadly our intention to require vaccination for nightclubs and some other settings. We will be coming forward in the coming weeks with detail for that,” he said.

The policy would push music events underground and result in unregulated house parties, nightclub operators have said.

Clubs will face discrimination cases alongside staffing and supply chain shortages, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said.

The late night sector has also expressed concern about a lack of detail about which venues will be required to operate the vaccine passport scheme and called for more guidance.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “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 categorise.”

Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said “countless unanswered questions” around the policy remained.

Lord added: “Why should an open plan nightclub with outdoor terrace, for example, be classed as any less safe than an enclosed 1000-person office, and where the current wording states ‘large gatherings’, does this include weddings, churches, or even Parliament?”

Nightclubs are currently encouraged in government guidance to ask revellers to show proof of vaccination via the NHS app’s Covid pass.

“As the Prime Minister said, we reserve the right to do what is necessary to protect the public and reduce transmission of the virus, including mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain settings,” a UK Government spokesperson said.