Venues will take precautions but not ask for vaccine passports, says music boss

·4-min read

Music venues will take precautions to protect people against coronavirus but are likely to not have a vaccine passport policy, a live music industry boss has said.

Mark Davyd, founder and chief executive of the Music Venue Trust, a charity which represents more than 270 small and medium-sized venues in the UK, said each one was taking precautions for next week when concerts resume on July 19.

Some measures being taken include staff at the venues wearing face masks, improving ventilation inside, plastic screens being installed on bars and workers urging people not to attend a gig if they are feeling unwell.

But Mr Davyd stressed that a one-size-fits-all approach would not work as every venue is different.

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He told the PA news agency: “Each individual venue is looking at its processes and what they can do to manage risk.

“It’s reliant upon things like the demographics, the local infection rates, the layout of the venue, the staffing of the venue, where they are located, all kinds of different things.

“What we’re encouraging people to do is, before you buy tickets, check out the website of the venue and see what they’re doing to try and protect people.”

He added there was a “level of responsibility” being given to audiences and he hoped the public would work with the venues to make sure they are also doing their part to prevent infections.

On vaccine passports, he added: “At our level, it’s a complete non-starter at the moment.

“Very, very few venues are going to do this. The reason is the app itself is no guarantee of anything, except that it says someone has taken a test and they’re negative.

Gigs will return after lockdown
Mark Davyd said a ‘level of responsibility’ is being given to audiences (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“Fake vaccine passports are already available and online. These things are not rigorous in any way, shape or form at the moment.”

Tom Bott, founder of Signature Brew bars and music venues in east London, said he would not be rolling out the passports at his venues from next week either.

“There’s been a few headlines from politicians suggesting it’d be a good idea but there’s no thorough guidance on how we should do that,” he told PA.

“I don’t think it’s for us to curate and implement complicated policies to consumers that could be construed as infringing on their personal rights.”

Geoff Priestley, general manager at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, said he would be following Government guidelines to make his venues are safe for concert-goers but would not be requesting the vaccine passports on the door.

“There’s no legislation to do it and also there’s currently no definition of what sized venues should be doing it,” he told PA.

“My staff said they all wanted to wear masks, so we’re still doing that. I already have air extraction and air conditioning but I’m also looking at putting in a UVC unit, which effectively filters the air, too.”

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Jon Tolley, managing director of Banquet Records in Kingston, said he will be requesting people to have vaccine passports for its gigs and will be running some events at half-capacity initially.

He told PA: “Most of our customers feel more comfortable for it and we’ve had loads of good feedback from them saying that they’re glad we’re doing something.

“We’ve got gigs for under-18s who can’t get vaccinated yet and also their parents will say yes or no to them coming based on any mitigations we have in place. But that doesn’t mean whatever anyone else is doing is wrong, it’s just what we’ve decided to do.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said businesses and large events will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass but added it would be “non-compulsory”.

Guidance issued by the Government on Monday said it may make the Covid Pass mandatory if “sufficient measures” were not being taken.

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