Pubs with dance floors must check for Covid cards at 1am

Confused about the new regulations? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one (Image: Getty Images)

Security and staff at late-night bars are going to have a tough time as soon as it hits 1am.

From tomorrow, locations can choose not to check people’s Covid cards until after this time, according to Government guidance published yesterday,

This suggests someone could walk in at 11 p.m. unchecked and spend two hours side-by-side before being asked to pass by returnees.

Even if they don’t have any proof of vaccinations or test negative, there’s plenty of time for them to spread the coronavirus across the dance floor.

The new guide caused a bit of confusion, as the Health Ministry said ‘nightclubs, discos and discos’ were required to check the Covid-19 status of their visitors at all times.

But it says ‘other late-night dance venues’ – whatever they may be – must ‘take reasonable steps’ to ensure anyone present between 1am and 5am has tickets Covid.

This applies “even if they enter the premises before that time”, which suggests that employees will have a hard time walking through a room full of drunks to check their cards.

The NHS Covid card allows people to show proof of double vaccinations or a negative test (Image: Getty Images)

The Department of Health’s distinction between nightclubs and ‘other late-night dance venues’ is not entirely clear.

It says locations have two options for when to perform checks, either when the venue is open or from when the rules apply (1am) – which sounds logistically difficult to say the least.

An example given by the Government of how the new system should work says: ‘A bar is open throughout the day and opens later than 1am.

‘It meets the criteria for mandatory use of the NHS COVID Pass (as it offers music and a dance floor, serves alcohol and is open after 1am).

‘Managers are not required to check the COVID-19 status of anyone who leaves the site before 1am but must take reasonable steps to ensure that all persons who stay in or enter the facility after 1am all have an NHS COVID Card (or others are accepted for proof).’

As you’d expect, people have taken to social media to express their confusion at the new system.

Vocal trainer Liz Hetherington tweeted: ‘Glad to know Covid has a good sense of time. 12.59 it still doesn’t work. 1 am it started working. ‘

Nigel Homer added: ‘Someone actually sat at a computer screen and wrote these sentences.’

Another bewildered Brit wrote: ‘Glad to know the virus has such great time-keeping skills. It only infects people after 1 am. What a clever virus! ‘

But UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls explained the rules apply to any venue with wipes serving alcohol after 1am – ‘regardless of the size and duration of the event’ .

In all cases, a Covid card will be required for any indoor event with 500 or more attendees where people are likely to stand or move around.

The same applies to outdoor locations with more than 4,000 people and to any venue with more than 10,000 people.

Many nightclub owners are unhappy about the new vaccine passport requirements under the Government’s Plan B Covid restrictions.

They say they are facing rising costs and losing bookings during one of the busiest times of the year.

Nightclub owners say the extra regulations are putting more pressure on them at the busiest time of year (Image: Getty Images)

Ben Reynolds, a nightclub owner in Bournemouth, said the new Covid certification measures were an ‘arrowhead’ at an already difficult time for the industry.

Mr. Reynolds, who runs The Lost Paradise and is about to open a new location, Lost, warns that the fine print is still unclear ahead of an important weekend for the sector.

He said owners and operators will now have to find ‘miracle’ energy to overcome the latest series of barriers keeping people from getting out.

Lost Paradise closed 18 months ago and the new venue – in the boutique nightclub scene – will open in the new year.

Mr Reynolds told ‘The industry is trying to push this as a Covd card rather than a vaccine passport, the Covid card is the fact that you don’t need to get vaccinated, you just need Present test results based on lateral flow.

‘So that’s probably the first big hurdle and the biggest factor of confusion for the market, for the consumer. Because it’s widely marketed as a vaccine pass, the assumption is that if you haven’t been vaccinated, you can’t go to a nightclub.

At night it is clear exactly what the Government distinguishes between nightclubs and other late night venues (Image: Ben Reynolds)

‘Following the fine print has yet to detail what is for many places usually the biggest weekend of the year.

‘There’s a lot of cancellations going on before January, February, March, which are pretty tough.

‘So it is a light wound of an arrow at an already difficult time for nightclubs with what has happened in the last 18 months.’

The restrictions go into effect at 1 a.m. tomorrow on the basis that they are voted on in the House of Representatives tonight.

Mr Reynolds said: ‘On a positive note, it is certainly better than further restrictions and complete closures have occurred in many parts of Europe.

‘It’s also much better to have a Covid card than just for those who have been vaccinated. Arguably the industry is multi-sectoral and it might be better for pre-ticketers to introduce this since the consumer journey is different.

So if you buy tickets for an event a month before you can plan that particular night.

Bournemouth nightclub owner Ben Reynolds (right) says the new measures are a ‘hit arrow’ for the industry (Image: Ben Reynolds)

‘If you’re a bar with no reservation or ticket sales and you’re just reliant on walking and people going out in town, you’re less likely to communicate with those people or know how many How many people will show up?

‘Those moderators feel really, really vulnerable now.’

Mr Reynolds added: ‘The bottom line is that the biggest fear everyone has is leaving consumers more exhausted and frustrated and less likely to want to go out.

‘For us, there is a risk of attendees dropping out at the most difficult time of the year.

‘There are reports from Wales and Scotland that the dropout rate is between 5% and 20% which is significant and there is speculation that this could get worse.

‘It means that we as owners and operators have to be active and we have to magically generate more energy and finance for finance to secure our appeal. outweigh the limitations and energy costs for consumers.’

Alice Woods, chief executive of The Dreamboys, said the men’s stripper would continue to tour at clubs and venues across the UK, but called for more financial support from the government. government to help the nightlife sector absorb the new regulations.

Alice Woods, executive director of men’s strip show The Dreamboys has called for greater government support (Image: Getty Images)

She said: ‘We’re pretty lucky that all of our shows take place in nightclubs which tend to be under 500 people. But with all of our events, there will be a nightclub entry after that so when guests re-enter they will obviously need to show their status.

‘From our point of view, this is the same throughout the pandemic, we want people to be safe and feel safe so we’re totally taking those measures if the government thinks they need to. is included.

‘It is a case that provides precise support for the industry. It is clear that we have been under massive attack for a long time and the support from the government is quite limited.

‘The subsidies and other support during the closure are a drop in the ocean compared to the costs incurred by the majority of use.

‘Our stance is that while we agree that some additional measures need to be taken, it is only fair to venues, promoters and operators to have some extra support.

‘If you need to test all those Covid cards, you need to add staff at a time when there is a shortage of staff everywhere, as well as training. We’d love to see more area-specific support. ‘ has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

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Huynh Nguyen

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