Earlier this month (September 1), the UK government confirmed that its plans to require people to be double jabbed in order to gain entry to nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues were going ahead. Now, however, it has backtracked on the ruling, with health secretary Sajid Javid telling the BBC: “I’m pleased to say we will not be going ahead.”
The vaccine passport requirement – first announced in July – was originally supposed to come into effect at the end of September, using the existing NHS app to generate proof of vaccination.
Though the government has stated that it will be “kept in reserve” in case it’s needed over autumn or winter, Javid says that the scheme has been scrapped because “we shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing it”.
“I’ve never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers or something to do what is just an everyday activity, but we were right to properly look at it,” he adds. “We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports.”
Following the scheme’s announcement, it was met with backlash from industry leaders. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) called the move “disappointing” at the time, saying: “It will cripple the industry.”
“We are trying to rebuild!” added NTIA CEO Michael Kill. “The government’s attempt to differentiate between businesses within our sector is extremely difficult, even for people who live and breathe this industry. Whether it be market segmentation or capacity limits, it’s not a workable position, there are too many variables and the businesses are too diverse, it cannot be easily categorised.”
Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, also said that his party would oppose the scheme, and Labour previously branded it “costly, open to fraud and... impractical”.
Naturally, Michael Kill has welcomed the new development, saying: “We hope that businesses will now be able to plan for the future with some degree of certainty, regain confidence from customers and the workforce, and start to rebuild a sector that has consistently been at the sharp end of this pandemic.”
Revisit Dazed’s feature on what post-COVID clubbing could look like, according to the clubs themselves, here, and find out how club culture learned to thrive online while venues were closed here.