Vaccine passports would hinder recovery, says nightclubs boss

A major nightclub chain in the West Midlands has confirmed it will not be asking for vaccine passports at its doors when it reopens venues, despite the Government advising to do so following the lifting of restrictions on July 19.

Rekom UK has clubs throughout the region
Rekom UK has clubs throughout the region

Club-goers will be able to enter clubs owned by Rekom UK without the need to prove they have been jabbed.

The company owns 42 venues across the UK, including Pryzm in Birmingham and Atik in Wrexham and Tamworth, as well as Play Hereford.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced in the House of Commons that the Government was going ahead with the final stage of its road map next week when England will enter its “new phase of continued caution” in living with coronavirus.

Mr Javid said businesses and large events will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass to ask punters for proof they are double-jabbed or have tested negative for coronavirus, but that it would be “non-compulsory”.

But Peter Marks, chief executive of Rekom UK, said he was “thrilled” to be able to reopen next Monday “at full capacity and without any requirement for a negative Covid test, something we believe would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet”.

He said reopened nightclubs will operate as pubs are currently running.

Mr Marks added: “We’re able to open in this way because nightclubs in particular are among the best equipped venues in the hospitality sector, and indeed were even prior to the pandemic, for the exact safety measures that are required to reduce the spread of the virus.

"These include air ventilation systems in all our venues which change air every five minutes on average, sanitisation stations throughout all our clubs, increased frequency of cleaning schedules compared to before the pandemic, and highly trained staff and experienced door staff who are well-versed in crowd management protocols.

"Together, these measures mean that clubs are well placed to open and provide unforgettable nights out once again.”

At the Downing Street press conference on Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged venues to use the vaccine passport scheme “as a matter of social responsibility”.

Guidance published on the Government website following the press conference said if “sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating the NHS Covid Pass in certain venues at a later date”.

Other hospitality venues have said they are awaiting the full Government guidance before they make a decision on whether they will request proof of vaccination from customers.

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