Nightclubs and late night bars hit out at the contradictions in Boris Johnson’s relaxation of lockdown rules, allowing people to hug loved ones again and overnight stays from next week, while dancefloors and gigs will remain closed off until June.
One lobby group called the choice “bizarre”.
Night time Industries Association boss Michael Kill said: “It seems bizarre and illogical to us that people can start hugging in household environments which at the peak of infection accounted for large proportions of Covid transmission, but people are still not allowed to move about, let alone, dance, in hospitality and late-night venues which the science has consistently shown have a lower level of transmission”.
Nightclubs and late-night economy businesses employ 1.5m people and, pre-covid, had an annual revenue of over £90bn according to the NTIA.
The sector is awaiting further guidance to come after 21 June.
Kill added that the government’s announcement to allow hugs before re-opening clubs “looks and feels like the Government pushing nightclubs to the back of the queue once again”.
Today the Prime Minister confirmed that England would proceed to step three of his roadmap for lifting lockdown from 17 May. The government said the UK has met all requirements necessary to continue to ease lockdown measures next week, gradually bringing more normality to everyday life.
People will also now be given a choice on whether to socially distance with close family and friends, but have been urged to remain cautious of the risk of transmission from physical touch.
Indoor entertainment will also resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas, and theatres, concern halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all re-open from the 17th, with larger events in these settings able to resume with capacity limits.
Infection rates are at their lowest level since last September, according to the latest data, and deaths and hospitalisations are at their lowest level since last July.
In addition, the vaccine rollout has been hugely successful, with more than two-thirds of UK adults vaccinated, and 17 million people having received their second dose.