Proof of vaccination will be required to enter nightclubs from the end of September, the vaccines minister has announced.
Nadhim Zahawi said proof that people are fully vaccinated against coronavirus will be required for them to be allowed into nightclubs and other “crowded venues” from that point.
Until then, COVID passes – which show if you are vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus – will be required, although these are not mandatory for venues to operate.
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In the Commons this afternoon, Mr Zahawi said: “By the end of September everyone aged 18 and over will have the chance to receive full vaccination and the additional two weeks for that protection to really take hold.
“So at that point we plan to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.
“Proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.”
It is hoped the announcement will help boost vaccine uptake among 18 to 30-year-olds, which is currently much lower than in older age groups.
In a news conference on Monday evening Boris Johnson said some 35% of 18 to 30-year-olds – three million people – were unvaccinated.
He urged young people to get fully-jabbed saying it is the “right thing to help get back the freedoms you love”.
He added: “I would remind everybody that some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination.
“There are already countries that require you to be double-jabbed as a condition of quarantine free travel and that list seems likely to grow.
“And we are also concerned – as they are in other countries – by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs.”
Asked if there would be a vaccination requirement for pubs, Mr Johnson said he “certainly didn’t want to see” vaccine passports for bars, but that the government “reserved the right to do what’s necessary to protect the public”.
Sir Patrick Vallance said evidence from the Netherlands and Israel has shown that clubs are “potential superspreading events”. He added that he expects to see outbreaks in the UK linked to nightclubs now venues are open.
Earlier, the government called for caution after people queued to return to venues in the early hours of Monday, after most remaining coronavirus rules were dropped in England.
In the Commons, Mr Zahawi promised that the plans would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny, and that there would be “appropriate” exemptions for people with a medical condition that means they cannot be vaccinated.
“We will always look at the evidence available and do all we can to ensure people can continue to do the things they love,” he added.
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He encouraged businesses to “use the NHS COVID pass in the weeks ahead”, adding: “We will be keeping a close watch on how it is used by venues and reserve the right to mandate if necessary.”
The COVID Pass scheme, run through the NHS app, was initially launched as a way of clearing people as safe to attend trial events such as sports matches, festivals and concerts, or to prove that they are safe to travel abroad.
The night-time industry expressed concerns over the plan.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “So, ‘freedom day’ for night clubs lasted around 17 hours then… The announcement from the prime minister that COVID passports will be made mandatory for night clubs in September comes after his Health Secretary said only one week ago that they would not be compulsory. What an absolute shambles.”
The Music Venue Trust, which represents grassroots music venues, said: “Singling out nightclubs, or music venues, or any other cultural activity, as spaces required to deliver such a policy won’t work without the tools to do it and without addressing the obvious point that most grassroots music venues have lower capacities and lower total attendees per day than pubs.”