LONDON – The UK government will lift restrictions on nightclubs and music venues across the UK starting next week, including a legal requirement for patrons to wear COVID-19 vaccine passports for entry, providing a much-needed boost to the country’s struggling living industry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of ‘Plan B’ measures in the UK on Wednesday (January 19). Restrictions put in place by the government in December To address the sharp rise in cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which could now be eased by a drop in infection rates, Johnson said. In a statement in the House of Commons, he told MPs that scientists believe the omicron wave has peaked in the country.
Plan B measures scheduled to end on January 27 include requiring people over the age of 18 to show they have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (or proof of a negative test result. in the last 48 hours) to enter English music venues. and nightclubs, although venue operators can still choose to request an NHS Covid card if they wish.
Other restrictions set to be lifted include mandatory face coverings in public places and the government’s recommendation that people in the UK work from home, if possible.
On Tuesday, the UK recorded 108,069 new COVID-19 cases with positive cases over the past seven days down 37% to 652,469. During the same 7-day period, 1,865 people died within 28 days of testing positive, an increase of 8.2% from the previous week. According to the Office for National Statistics, a total of 3.4 million Britons were infected with the virus in the seven days leading up to January 15, down from 4.3 million the previous week.
On Tuesday, the Scottish government said it would lift most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions on January 24, allowing nightclubs to reopen and concerts to resume after closing. Open from the end of December.
Wales will also lift most coronavirus restrictions next week, although vaccine passports will still be required in both Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is the only UK country that has not said when sanctions will be eased.
“This is a moment we can all be proud of,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said at a press conference in Downing Street following the Prime Minister’s announcement. He warned that although the wave of omicron infections is now “in retreat” across the UK, the end of restrictions should not be seen as the “finish line” in the nearly two-year battle against coronavirus. “We have to proceed with caution,” Javid said.
The scrapping of vaccine passports for nightclubs and music venues has been welcomed by live operators still reeling from the severe losses they suffered over the holiday season. According to the Music Venue Trust, attendance for live performances dropped 23% in the six days after the government announced Plan B measures on December 8, with damage to facility venues totaling plus nearly 2 million pounds ($2.7 million). Sales of pre-booked tickets fell 27% in the same period.
Executive Director of the Association of Night Industries Michael Kill said losses from nightclubs, bars and music venues over the past month have left many businesses in an “extremely fragile state” and it is expected to take years for the sector to recover. .
The end of the Plan B measures means that site operators are “finally able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty and without the debilitating restrictions,” Kill said. weak,” said Kill, but he cautioned that more financial support from the government is still needed for the night time economic and hospitality sectors.
https://www.billboard.com/pro/uk-lifts-covid-19-restrictions-live-industry/ UK government lifts COVID-19 restrictions, boosts live industry – Billboard