COVID-19: Proof of full vaccination condition of entry to nightclubs from end of September

·4-min read

People will need to have proof of full vaccination to enter nightclubs and other "crowded venues" from the end of September, the vaccines minister has announced.

Nadhim Zahawi said a negative coronavirus test would soon "no longer be sufficient" proof that a person was
COVID-safe.

Speaking in the Commons on the day England's nightclubs were allowed to open for the first time since March 2020, he urged businesses to use the NHS COVID pass, which shows if someone is vaccinated or that they have tested negative for the virus.

He added that in the next few weeks: "We will be keeping a close watch on how it is used by venues and reserve the right to mandate if necessary."

Mr Zahawi said: "By the end of September everyone aged 18 and over will have the chance to receive full vaccination and the additional two weeks for that protection to really take hold.

"So at that point we plan to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.

"Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient."

It is hoped the announcement will help boost vaccine uptake among the under-30s, which is currently much lower than in older age groups.

In a news conference on Monday evening, Boris Johnson said 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds - three million people - were unvaccinated.

He urged young people to get fully-jabbed, saying it is the "right thing to help get back the freedoms you love".

He added: "I would remind everybody that some of life's most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.

"There are already countries that require you to be double-jabbed as a condition of quarantine free travel and that list seems likely to grow.

"And we are also concerned - as they are in other countries - by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs."

Asked if there would be a vaccination requirement for pubs, Mr Johnson said he "certainly didn't want to see" vaccine passports for bars, but that the government "reserved the right to do what's necessary to protect the public".

The government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said evidence from the Netherlands and Israel has shown that clubs are "potential superspreading events". He added that he expects to see outbreaks in the UK linked to nightclubs now venues are open.

Meanwhile, England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said he "completely sympathised" with the sacrifices young people have made.

"On the science side, however, it is a case in point that if you pack my garden shed full of people and they are unvaccinated, the likelihood of transmission is going to be far greater than if you pack my garden shed full of people who have been fully vaccinated and are 14 days out the other side of their second dose."

Earlier, the government called for caution after people queued to return to venues in the early hours of Monday, after most remaining coronavirus rules were dropped in England.

Mr Zahawi promised that the plans would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny, and that there would be "appropriate" exemptions for people with a medical condition that means they cannot be vaccinated.

"We will always look at the evidence available and do all we can to ensure people can continue to do the things they love," he added.

The COVID Pass scheme, run through the NHS app, was initially launched as a way of clearing people as safe to attend trial events such as sports matches, festivals and concerts, or to prove that they are safe to travel abroad.

The night-time industry expressed concerns over the latest plan.

Peter Marks, chief executive of nightclub operator Rekom UK, told Sky News: "Younger guests are 95% of our customers - they won't be fully vaccinated [by September].

"We won't be requiring them, otherwise we won't have anyone in."

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said the whole industry was "taken by surprise".

"I am not a scientist or a doctor, but I am deeply concerned by the discriminatory nature for those who either can't have the vaccine for medical reasons or age, or who do not want to," he added.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: "So, 'freedom day' for nightclubs lasted around 17 hours then… What an absolute shambles."

The Music Venue Trust, which represents grassroots music venues, added: "Singling out nightclubs, or music venues, or any other cultural activity, as spaces required to deliver such a policy won't work without the tools to do it and without addressing the obvious point that most grassroots music venues have lower capacities and lower total attendees per day than pubs."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting