Covid passes have put 'unnecessary pressure' on the industry says nightclub owner

Graeme da Silva, the Regional Director for REKOM UK, is "dismayed" by the decision and says it has put "unnecessary pressure" on the industry. Credit: ITV Wales

The night-time economy has been "singled out" since Covid passes were introduced in Wales on Monday, one nightclub owner has said.

Graeme da Silva, the Regional Director for REKOM UK, is "dismayed" by the decision and says it has put "unnecessary pressure" on the industry.

"To be honest, we're quite dismayed by the government's decision to put it in place", he said.

"Purely because it's not backed by any scientific evidence that nightclubs or the night time economy is responsible for any surge in cases."

Covid passes now are compulsory in certain venues in Wales.

From Monday, Covid passes need to be shown before people are allowed in through the security point in nightclubs.

The passes, which are now compulsory, means that people have to show that they've either received both Covid vaccines or that they have proof of a negative lateral flow test within the last 48 hours.

Covid passes are also compulsory in indoor non-seated events for more than 500 people, such as concerts or conventions, outdoor non-seated events for more than 4,000 people or in any setting or event with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

People have to show proof of vaccination or negative Covid test

For Graeme, the new system has meant that he's had to pay for additional staff, and he's worried that this will affect revenue.

He told ITV Wales: "We've had to put in additional staff to do the additional checks. It's slowed down our entry systems. We have to do additional checks and we have to ask customers to prove that, which slows the queues down.

"It will all boil down to us losing revenue at the end of the day because everything's slower. Also, there's a risk factor of us getting something wrong and having a closure notice or a £10,000 fine placed on us. So it's really important for us to get it right.

Graeme says that queues are longer because of the new checks

"It comes into effect immediately so there's no real margin for error like there is in Scotland where they've given their guys a two week grace period to get used to the systems and fully train their staff.

"So it's put us under a lot of unnecessary pressure and it will affect revenue unfortunately."

Graeme also believes that the night time economy is being singled out through the new system and that Covid passes should be introduced across all sectors.

"If you're going to do Covid passes then let's do it across all the sectors", he said.

Graeme believes the passes should be extended to other sectors

"Don't just single out one industry, especially the night time economy. We're already in a fragile state of recovery and we've gone through a really, really tough two years, so this is the last thing we need."

Responding to a question about introducing Covid passes in other sectors, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the Welsh Government hasn't ruled out the possibility.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, she said: "At the moment, we're obviously focused on making the sure the system works as well as it can in relation to nightclubs and all kinds of other settings that we've set out.

"The First Minister has suggested that there may be a point at which we would be asking for Covid passes to be introduced in care homes and maybe even hospitals. But we're not at that point yet. This is obviously something we'll keep under review."

There have been mixed reviews from young people. Some have welcomed the decision and some have called it an "inconvenience".

Some people welcomed the idea

ITV Wales spoke to nightclub goers in Cardiff on the first night Covid passes were in force.

One man said: "Whatever keeps the country safe. If people are vaccinated, it means people can go out and that's all good."

"Considering England haven't got it, it's a like 'why do we have to have it?' another said.

"We've been going out for weeks now without it but it's understandable."

Others didn't understand why the system was in place in Wales and not in England

A third added: "It's an absolute pain.

"It makes the queue way longer. I'm vaccinated. If I'm choosing to go to the club, it doesn't really matter if other people aren't vaccinated, it's my own personal choice. It's just an inconvenience to be honest."


How do I get a Covid pass?

The aim of the Covid pass is to prove you are double-vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19, within 48 hours of the event or attending the venue.

So you can take a free lateral flow test and report your test result on gov.uk. Your test result is then either emailed or sent to you by text message - these are also considered proof of a negative test.

To access the NHS Covid pass you'll need to go to the NHS (nhs.uk) website and create a login if you haven't done so already - for this you'll need a form of ID and complete the checks.

You can then access your Covid pass and save it to your phone or print it off.

You can produce a Covid pass using a smart phone, tablet, computer or laptop.


Read more: