The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has released a plan to get clubbers back on the dance floor as coronavirus closures threaten to decimate the night time industries.
The organisation, which called for government support for UK nightlife last month, has worked with the Institute of Occupational Medicine to devise a plan that could safely see the reopening of clubs across the country.
The report –“Managing COVID in the UK Entertainment Industry” – sets out guidelines that would allow clubs to open while mitigating the spread of coronavirus. It suggests that all clubbers should have their temperature taken on arrival, as well as IDs scanned for contact tracing.
The report also recommends that clubbers wear face masks while dancing. It adds that the “use of face coverings on the dance floor can be implemented and enforced through existing security staff and protocols”.
Nightclubs in the UK have been closed since the lockdown was announced in March, and are currently still banned from opening under government coronavirus legislation. While Korea and Italy found that the reopening of clubs led to a jump in coronavirus castes, the NTIA report argues that not allowing nightclubs to operate will encourage illegal raves – “unregulated events [that] put those who attend them in danger”.
Reopening nightclubs would also provide a lifeline for those who work there. According to an NTIA survey of its members, almost 60 percent of night time venues will not survive more than two months without additional government support. Seventy-three percent of night time operators said that they will be making more than half their workforce redundant from September, while 39 percent said that they would have to make redundancies once the government’s furlough scheme ends.
Sacha Lord, the night time economy advisor for Manchester said: "Since the middle of March, our nightclubs, arenas, live music venues and cultural organisations, have, on the whole, been shut. Without any road map and with support by the way of furlough, coming to an end, sadly the conversation is now turning to mass closures and redundancies.”
“Clearly safety has to come first and operators have been looking at many solutions to get the sector back up and running,” he added. “Having seen and read many schemes over the last few months, this IOM report is the first report that I can fully support without hesitation. It overcomes any potential concerns I have had regarding safety and backs up comments with clarity and statistics, that no previous report has on this scale. Having read the report several times, I feel that this is the start of the industry finally looking to open it’s doors to recovery."
Stuart Glen, who runs The Cause nightclub in north London, said that while the NTIA proposals were helpful, the government needs to do more.
“This is a step in the right direction but we need some very forward-thinking on top,” he said. “I believe [nightclubs] should be allowed to open with as many sensible measures in place, but be incentivised to give as much feedback as possible to understand how reopening with these restrictions affects transmission.”
“The government spent £180 million by the 19th August on the Eat Out To Help Out scheme,” he added. “For a fraction of that cost, they could introduce a system where venues give customers a reward back (i.e. a free drink or £10 voucher) once they report how they are feeling for two weeks after attending a nightclub, reimbursing venues who feed the data back.”