Chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Michael Kill, has said the organisation is “disappointed” that UK Members of Parliament voted in to law the use of COVID-19 passports for nightclubs and venues in England.

COVID passes are mandatory and enforceable in England from today (Wednesday), with proof of double vaccination needed to enter nightclubs and venues. The vaccine pass is also needed for unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, and any event with 10,000 or more attendees will require the COVID Pass for entry in England.

Kill said: “We are disappointed that MPs have voted in to law COVID passports for nightclubs. The NTIA have consistently opposed their introduction due to the many logistical challenges they pose for night time economy businesses and what we have seen in Scotland and Wales where they have dampened trade by 30% and 26% respectively.

“It is very disappointing that, after flip flopping on the issue twice, the Government has decided to press ahead with the plans despite no evidence of their impact on transmission of the virus.”

A study from the Music Venue Trust (MVT) has found that attendance at grassroots music venues has dropped 23% in one week since the ‘Plan B’ announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week. The report found that 61% of venues had to cancel at least one event in the week between December 6-13, with the most prominent reasons for a cancellation being a member of the touring party testing positive for COVID-19, bookings like Christmas parties being cancelled and poor sales performance.

Beverley Whitrick, MVT strategic director, said: “This is the busiest time of the year for grassroots music venues, representing more than 20% of their annual income being raised during the party season.

“Rapid declines in attendance at this time of year represent an exponential threat to the whole sector, and losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained without throwing hundreds of music venues into crisis mode and at risk of permanent closure. A ‘no show’ isn’t just lost ticket income, it’s lost bar take and excess staff costs.”

Kill added: “The Government’s public health messaging over the last two weeks has cost the industry billions in trade, lost stock and staff hours.

“These additional restrictions will jeopardise the survival of businesses in 2022 – we need urgent additional support now. And it goes without saying that if more measures are increased we need a proportionate support package including a return of the furlough scheme.”

Image: Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash