Nightclub operators were keen to make a comeback after midnight on Monday 19 July 2021, with a number of nightclubs being fully booked, ahead of the date that restrictions were lifted. This comes after a 16 month closure of nightclubs, imposed by the government, and the arrival of “Freedom Day”.

Government guidance published on 14 July 2021, sets out six steps to protect staff and customers during coronavirus including:

  1. Completing a health and safety risk assessment
  2. Provide adequate ventilation
  3. Clean more often
  4. Turn away people with Covid-19 symptoms
  5. Enable people to check in at venues
  6. Communicate and train

Further details can be found in the link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/restaurants-pubs-bars-nightclubs-and-takeaway-services

Nightclubs are currently permitted to open without social distancing or capacity limits in place, subject to the permissions set out in their premises licences.

The prime minister has now said that people attending nightclubs and other venues, where there are large crowds gathering, will need to be fully vaccinated from the end of September. Boris Johnson has said that full vaccination will be a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where there are large crowds. The previous guidance was that operators running such events would only be encouraged to request proof of vaccination or a negative result and it is widely reported that most operators would be choosing not to do so.

Vaccinations were made available to over 18s, in June.  Since then, just over half of 18-30 year olds in England have taken up the vaccine. There is some hesitation on the vaccine take-up from the younger generation and the impact this will have on nightclubs is yet to be seen. The question asked by many is why it is safe for night clubbers to attend nightclubs now without proof of vaccination, if they will not be permitted to do so from the end of September. The full vaccination condition for entry to nightclubs, is clearly a tactic to encourage young people to get fully vaccinated.

In the Netherlands, coronavirus infections surged eightfold to their highest levels, after restrictions in nightclubs were lifted, resulting in the Dutch Prime Minister reversing his decision to lift restrictions. Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in England and it is unknown at this stage whether the UK government will follow suit.

During the forced closure of nightclubs, we have had operators seek advice from us to review the way they operate. Some nightclub venues have remained closed for the whole period, whilst others have taken measures to change their operation to a late night lounge bar, whilst complying with new rules and regulations, including opening at a reduced capacity with table service and with a maximum of 6 customers per table. The only certainty in this current climate is uncertainty where rules and regulations are on a conveyor belt of constant change. For further advice, please contact Joanna Onisiforou, Associate – 0207 759 1371

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