UK live music representatives have called for clubs to be treated in the same way as other similar-sized hospitality businesses amid the Government’s announcement that nightclubs must deploy Covid certification from September.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson used what had been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19 to announce that facilities in England must ensure that only those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can be allowed to enter.
The Prime Minister said the Government is “planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.” It is thought this could also include concerts and sports fixtures.
Unlike at Events Research Programme pilot events, where customers have been allowed to show evidence of a negative test, they will have to prove they have been double-jabbed amid concerns in Government about vaccine uptake among young people. Approximately 35% of 18- to 30-year-olds are unvaccinated, the Prime Minister said.
The September date would give all adults in the country the opportunity to get both Covid jabs.
Greg Parmley, chief executive of LIVE, the UK live music business, said that venues are well prepared for Covid certification requirements.
He said: “The Government has had several different positions on Covid certification in the last six months and we will need to see more detail before we can understand the full impact for the live music industry.
“Many festivals and large venues are already adopting some level of Covid certification, and as responsible event organisers, will continue to do so.
“What we are absolutely clear about, however, is that venues such as small music clubs should not be treated any differently to other similar-sized hospitality businesses such as bars and restaurants when it comes to the need for Covid vaccine certification.”
The announcement came as organisers of major UK festivals, including Leeds and Reading, confirmed on Monday (July 19) that they will still ask attendees to provide evidence of their vaccination status or a negative Covid-19 test despite social distancing rules coming to an end in England, with mask-wearing now no longer compulsory. From just after midnight on Sunday, thousands of revellers were pictured dancing at clubs across the country as they celebrated ‘Freedom Day’.
On Monday, all theatres, venues and clubs as well as shops and other businesses were allowed to open without capacity restrictions. However, many venues and businesses have continued to ask patrons to continue wearing masks, and many have been impacted by enforced isolation for both customers and staff.
LIVE chief executive Parmley also called on the Government to keep the promise it made on delivering a Covid insurance scheme, and ensure live music is able to recover from a lockdown that has lasted more than a year.
The Government has said on numerous occasions that it would address the market failure in Covid cancellation insurance once the country moved to Step 4.
Parmley added: “The lifting of restrictions today is bittersweet for the live music sector who are currently putting on events in the face of huge financial losses and even bankruptcy, without insurance.
“The Government has repeatedly promised it would step in and the UK is now one of just a handful of countries across Europe not to act. If it wants to avoid a summer of silence, they need to fill the gap in the market and provide the insurance to make these events financially viable – and fast.”