Portsmouth nightclub owner hits out at 'unfair' Covid-19 vaccine passport scheme to roll out in September

NIGHTCLUBS and venues with large crowds will require attendees to have vaccine passports showing attendees have been double jabbed from the end of September – with one Portsmouth club owner calling it ‘age discrimination’.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 9:54 pm

Currently nightclubs and other crowded venues are only encouraged to ask clubbers to show proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or immunity.

But the prime minister Boris Johnson said he was concerned by the continuing risk of transmission.

The announcement comes as nightclubs in England are allowed to reopen after being closed for almost a year and a half.

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Nightclubs and other large venues carting to crowds will require Covid passports from the end of September. Picture: Sam Stephenson

The prime minister told a press conference: ‘I don't want to have to close nightclubs again as they have elsewhere. But it does mean nightclubs need to do the socially responsible thing.

‘As we said last week, we do reserve the right to mandate certification at any point if it's necessary to reduce transmission.

‘And I should serve notice now that by the end of September, when all over 18s have had their chance to be double jabbed we're planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather.’

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Hundreds of revellers packed out The Astoria nightclub in Portsmouth last night as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Picture: Sam Stephenson

The Astoria nightclub in Portsmouth’s city centre threw open its doors to packed crowds of mask-less revellers at 12.01am this morning as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Now the club’s owner, Alistair Ritchie, says the latest announcement is ‘unfair on clubs and unfair on society’.

He said: ‘It will have a massive impact.

‘If so many of your friends don’t have a vaccine passport, you just won’t go out.

‘And how will bars stop themselves from turning into nightclubs? If you go into a bar with music playing, are you allowed to dance?

‘It is so frustrating. It feels like there’s a constant flurry of obstacles over the last year, it’s been one flaming hoop to jump through after another.’

With an eight week wait between jabs and then a two week wait for vaccine passports, it means anyone turning 18 after the scheme is introduced will not be able to go clubbing on their birthday – unless the government allows under-18s to get jabbed.

Latest figures show 35 per cent of 18 to 30 year olds in England have not had their first jab.

In Portsmouth, 58 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds have had one dose, while 56 per cent of 25 to 29 year olds have had one jab.

The Astoria’s neighbour Mr Miyagi's bar will be hosting a NHS vaccination walk-in hub every Thursday starting this week, open from 12pm to 6pm.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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