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Covid: Vaccine passport plan for nightclubs ‘concerning’

Plans to make Covid vaccine passports mandatory at nightclubs are “deeply concerning,” Greater Manchester’s night-time economy advisor has said.

Full vaccination will be a condition of entry to clubs and other venues with large crowds from September.

Sacha Lord, who runs the Warehouse Project club nights, said the government “appears to have wiped out live gigs for a whole generation”.

The government said it had launched a hospitality strategy to help.

The announcement came on the day nightclubs were allowed to reopen after almost 18 months of closure.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a press conference earlier: “I don’t want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere. But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing.

“As we said last week, we do reserve the right to mandate certification at any point if it’s necessary to reduce transmission.”

Mr Lord said the industry had been taken by surprise by the latest announcement.

“I am not a scientist or a doctor, but I am deeply concerned by the discriminatory nature for those who either can’t have the vaccine for medical reasons or age, or who do not want to,” he said.

“With this one move, the Government appears to have wiped out live gigs for a whole generation.”

He added: “How will nightclubs now compete against pubs and bars down the road where these restrictions aren’t needed, or attract punters who can just as easily have a house party without these enforcements in place.

“I have been in the nightlife and events industry for over 25 years, but I cannot see any reason why anyone would now want to enter this sector with such financially damaging restrictions in place.”

Earlier, he told BBC Breakfast hospitality businesses remain “on a cliff edge”

He said over the last 18 months businesses had seen how the government “has really not understood” their needs and how they operate.

He added: “The ten o’clock curfew is a perfect example, pushing hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets at exactly the same time. That did far worse than good.

“We saw ridiculous substantial meal rules – the Scotch egg rule.

“I took them to the High Court to compel them to drop that, which saved many businesses and jobs across the whole of the UK.

“So time and time again, we have seen so many mistakes.”

A government spokesperson said: “We appreciate the significant impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry – including the night-time economy.

“[This] is why, on top of our unprecedented £352bn package of business support, just last week we launched our hospitality strategy to help the sector recover as well as boost resilience long-term.”

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