The UK’s nightclubs are set to reopen later this month (July 19), without requiring clubbers to take COVID tests or display vaccine passports.
The update comes courtesy of the cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is leading a major review of clubs’ reopening policy, following more than 15 months of closures that have left the industry in an increasingly precarious position. In a new report from the Evening Standard, Gove is reported to believe that testing requirements would simply impose “too much hassle” on both venues and the public.
“We are increasingly confident that people are protected,” adds a government source. “And the plan is to reopen everything, with no exceptions.”
Unsurprisingly, the announcement has been met with enthusiasm from high-profile figures involved in the UK’s nighttime economy, who have hailed it as a “godsend”.
Chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Michael Kill, for example, has noted that it will counteract the negative impact of mandatory testing on smaller clubs. “If you are in a late-night London pub and thinking of going on to the club around the corner,” he says, “there’s a good chance that having to take a test would make you question whether to bother.”
The reported move follows the success of the vaccine programme rolled out across the UK, which has helped sever the link between cases and fatalities.
Several recent pilot studies — such as the wide-ranging Events Research Programme — have also produced “reassuring” results, with just 28 COVID cases recorded from UK gatherings involving 58,000 people. It is worth noting, however, that the researchers are urging caution when interpreting the data, due to the very low uptake of post-event testing.
As the nighttime industries gear up for reopening, read Dazed’s feature on what post-COVID clubbing will look like, according to the clubs themselves, here.