Nightclub owners feel 'unfairly targeted' by introduction of Covid passes

Nightclub owners in South Yorkshire say they feel they are being unfairly targeted as part of measures coming into force to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.From tomorrow, (Wednesday 15th December) anyone going to a nightclub will have to show they are double jabbed or provide a negative lateral flow test.

Paul Kinsey owns the Viper Rooms in Sheffield.  He racked up a million pounds of debt when his chain of clubs was closed in March last year and had to lay off more than 200 staff.  He expects the new rules to hit his bottom line again.

"You'll have a number of people who believe well if this is what the government's putting in there must be a good reason why it's being put in.  And there'll also be people who haven't been vaccinated who say well actually we'll just stay away then, and we'll go to the 85% of venues in city centres that you're allowed to go to without showing any proof.

"My personal view is that Boris Johnson has lost all credibility and I think what happens now is he cherry picks elements of the science to support a political decision.  You know, we've been the whipping boy for the last two years in this whole Covid campaign and I don't think the public have the respect to believe what they're saying is the actual solution."

Viper Rooms in Sheffield

The hospitality industry has been impacted by workers staying at home and tomorrow's rules come in just as they are entering their busiest time of year.

Nick Simonnite from Unight said this has been particularly challenging with a 'distinct lack of income'.

He said: "The promise of it's all going to come good at Christmas, don't worry we will reap the rewards of a good solid, safe Christmas and we'll be able to pay the bills in January that's looking less likely now."

The new rules will apply to nightclubs or any venue that:

It will also apply to:

  • indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people

  • unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people

  • and any event with more than 10,000 people.

The Government said the measures being brought in were balanced and proportionate.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said: "We've had to introduce some targeted measures to stop to stem the flow and the spread of this new Omicron variant of coronavirus which is spreading far faster than variants before."

In the Commons on Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the UK Health Security Agency estimated there were 200,000 infections a day, with the new strain accounting for 20% of cases in England.