Enforced closures ‘could back nightclubs into corner with no chance of survival’

·2-min read

Nightclub bosses have warned that imposing further restrictions on the sector would back firms “into a corner with no chance of survival” as they urged the Prime Minister to avoid measures after Christmas.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said in a letter to Boris Johnson that the UK late-night economy has already “suffered enormous damage” as a result of the Government’s response to the pandemic in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister launched Plan B measures which made it mandatory for people to show proof of at least two vaccination jabs, or a negative lateral flow or PCR test, to get into nightclubs.

Footfall in hospitality venues has also plunged over the past two weeks as consumer sentiment has been weighed down by soaring virus rates.

Industry bodies had been critical of messaging from Mr Johnson urging caution and comments from England’s chief medical adviser Professor Chris Whitty suggesting people should cut back on socialising.

This week, the Government has held off from announcing further restrictions.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said in a letter to the Prime Minister: “It’s likely that tens of thousands of our businesses will never recover from this damage.

“Most of these are small and medium sized owner run businesses that play a vital part in the cultural, social, and economic lives of our towns and cities.

“And if that is not bad enough, we now face the possibility that major parts of our sector may face further curbs, and, in the case of nightclubs, total closure immediately after Christmas.”

Mr Kill added that extended restrictions such as Covid certification should give people confidence they can enjoy nightclubs safely.

“Full closure of venues on top of this does not give people any confidence in your current mitigations and backs our sector into a corner with no chance of survival, based on very little scientific evidence,” he added.

“Connecting through music, dance and socialising in our communities is an essential part of physical, social, and mental wellbeing and during this extremely difficult time especially needed to give people hope.

“Let’s not end this year as we did last – end the uncertainty and let us dance on New Year’s Eve.”

Meanwhile, from December 26, nightclubs in Wales will close and restrictions will be imposed on businesses such as two-metre social distancing in offices.

In Scotland, nightclubs have been ordered to shut their doors for at least three weeks from December 27.

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