Nightclubs are readying themselves for a “devastating” Christmas as rumours swirl over the imminent introduction of fresh Covid restrictions.
Multiple newspapers have reported that so-called Plan B restrictions could be announced as early as tonight in a press conference.
The restrictions would mean vaccine passports and an instruction to work-from-home once more.
Late-night venues had been hoping to recoup pandemic losses with a roaring Christmas season, with offices keen to celebrate together as well as friends and family.
Michael Kill, CEO of trade body Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said the introduction of vaccine passports would have a “damaging impact” on the night time economy.
Revellers would be required to show proof of vaccination on entry when attending large or crowded venues.
Trade was down 30 per cent in Scotland and 26 per cent in Wales following the introduction of vaccine passports, Kill said.
He added: “The UK government has twice ruled out Vaccine Passports before twice changing their mind. The pre-Christmas period is absolutely crucial for our sector and reports today that Plan B including vaccine passports will have a devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic”
Voices in the hospitality sector have also questioned the timing of the potential announcement.
Downing Street has faced public scrutiny this week after it was reported civil servants had a Christmas party last year, despite Covid laws banning this at the time.
Kill added: “Is this sound evidence-based public policy making or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing St Christmas party? Nightclubs and bars must not be thrown under the bus for the Prime Minister to save his own skin.
“And of course these businesses, who have already sacrificed so much during the pandemic, will be asking – ‘why are we being asked to carry more of the burden when it seemed that the most senior Government officials felt they didn’t need to do their bit?’”