Nightclubs say they won't ask for Covid passports, despite PM urging use

13 July 2021, 13:17

Multiple nightclub owners have said they will not use NHS Covid-19 passports despite Boris Johnson's pleas.
Multiple nightclub owners have said they will not use NHS Covid-19 passports despite Boris Johnson's pleas. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Multiple nightclub owners say they will not require Covid passports when they open next week, despite Boris Johnson urging venues to use them "as a matter of social responsibility".

REKOM UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction say they will not require proof of a negative Covid test or vaccination, as this "would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet".

CEO Peter Marks said their clubs 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."

Eclectic Bars, which owns brands Lola Lo, Coalition, Embargo, Lowlander and Le Fez also told LBC they will not be requiring coronavirus passports for entry.

Read more: LBC Views: Tom Swarbrick makes the case for vaccine passports to avoid a Winter lockdown

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It follows a U-turn from the government on whether Covid passports will become part of the "new normal" as restrictions ease.

Government sources had briefed that Michael Gove believed the certificates would be "too much hassle" on the public and businesses.

But at the Downing Street press conference on Monday, the prime minister urged venues to use the vaccine passport scheme "as a matter of social responsibility".

While the passes are not currently a legal requirement, guidance published 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".

Read more: Javid confirms 19 July unlocking but with face masks and ‘gradual’ return to offices

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The NHS app will allow users to display proof of their vaccination status and any recent Covid-19 tests they have taken.

LBC's Nick Ferrari on Tuesday morning pressed Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay over why "doesn't the government just say 'we're not having them' or 'we are having them'".

Mr Barclay said the government would be putting out some "legal guidance" but that "some businesses want to be in a position to bring greater comfort to those using their premises".